La Otracina

Reality Has Got to Die

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    8
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Brooklyn-based psychedelic hard rock trio La Otracina are obviously heavily influenced by vintage psychedelic rock, Krautrock/motorik, etc., but this album is very much in the stoner metal realm. Drummer/vocalist Adam Kriney (who also runs the band's label, Holy Mountain) howls and carries on in a vein somewhere between the Melvins' Buzz Osborne and Cathedral's Lee Dorrian, and the guitar and bass work of Philippe Ortanez and Evan Sobel, respectively, very much recalls Cathedral's '70s-besotted stomping. Blasts of vintage synth add to the retro feel, but these guys are much more than mere sonic archivists. Despite giving their songs titles like "Crystal Wizards of the Cosmic Weird" and "Mass Meteoric Mind," they've got a present-day, down-to-earth, back-alley vibe going that's strongly reminiscent of Staten Island's late-'60s/early-'70s proto-metal titans, Sir Lord Baltimore (who also had a singing drummer), while remaining something you could imagine going out to a club and hearing. Their songs have dynamic shifts (from fast to slow, from crushing riffage to gentle, folkish acoustic guitar melodies) that keep the album from being a mere slog like, say, Sleep's Holy Mountain (to name just one wildly overrated stoner metal disc). These guys aren't concerned with being hip as much as letting out some of the wildness that's trapped within them, and that's the first step to making great rock music.

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