Psychatrone Rhonedak

Disturbs the Air

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Given that the cover art for Disturbs the Air clearly invokes (though does not directly copy) Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, it should be no surprise that Psychatrone Rhonedak's music tends towards the mysterious, murky and doom-laden. Certainly the singing has a bit of Ozzy Osbourne's classic, haunted quaver, though generally at a lower volume and less intensely pain-ridden. But this one-man band, unlike more than a few out there, is not out simply to re-create Tony Iommi's world over and again -- instead, and again unsurprisingly given his nom de plume, this is dark psychedelia shot through with hints of Middle Eastern drones and arrangements as interpreted via electric guitar, tribal drumming, space rock synths, and more besides (indeed, the instrument credits include "toys"). The opening, layered percussion parts set against a huge majestic riff on "Violet Ray Theme" suggest what would happen if Spacemen 3 might have jammed with the Master Musicians of Jajouka, and from there Disturbs the Air wends a shadowy way through songs with appropriate titles ("Procession East," "Ground Zero Station"). A couple of well-chosen covers further flesh out the album -- Warren Zevon's "They Moved the Moon" gets treated very well while "Earth Anthem," first made popular by the Turtles, is redone in a fashion that suggests nothing less than a requiem for the planet after it's been sent to oblivion, vocals distorted and echoed in the mix. The winner among the remakes might be Gandalf's 1968 song "Can You Travel in the Dark Alone?," especially with its wordless vocal coda swooping over a distant, threatening tone, suggesting an empty, cold wasteland.

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