Crystal Fairy

Crystal Fairy

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The Ipecac-issued debut album from the outlier indie rock quartet featuring the Melvins' Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover, At the Drive-In's Omar Rodriguez-López, and Le Butcherettes' Teri Gender Bender, Crystal Fairy delivers a surreal blast of sonic pugilism that pairs psych-tinged, stentorian stoner metal with snarling art-punk. True to its members' pedigrees -- and in a rare bit of kismet -- the 11-track set more than lives up to the hyperbolic notion of a supergroup, employing a lethal aural assault that marches to beats both familiar and phantasmagoric. Teri Gender Bender (real name Teresa Suárez) proves once again that she's one of the most versatile vocalists in the heavy music scene, deftly weaving in and out of octaves like a Ducati during rush hour on a four-lane highway -- the aptly named "Drug on the Bus" is a particular tour de force. The band proves adept at switching in and out of gear as well, mercilessly pounding the pavement on propulsive haymakers like "Chiseler" and "Vampire X-Mass," while finding just enough restraint on the more midtempo offerings ("Moth Tongue," "Necklace of Divorce") to allow TGB to drive the nail in. Elsewhere, Osborne shares the lead on a nerved-up cover of cult Sacramento punk unit Tales of Terror's "Possession," and the band goes full-on, trippy early Jane's Addiction-inspired psych-metal on the cacophonous "Bent Teeth." The ballsy, groove-laden title track plays to each of the members' strengths, with every piston pumping and cog locking in, sounding for all the world like Sabotage-era Sabbath fronted by Danielle Dax. It's impressive stuff, and that it feels like the work of a much more seasoned crew of bandmates suggests that they had as much fun making it as the listener will have devouring it.

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