More than the legendary US forerunner-band Blood Farmers, M-SQUAD have an immense 60's/70's influence ... no they are a total early 70's band and in opposite to the former band of the three Squad members, they have given a wider space to a more trippy and psychedelic atmosphere. "Smoke", their second album again on Primate Media, could have been released somewhere between 1967 and 1974, so close it's to the golden era of Hardrock and Heavy Psych and it's hard to believe, that this album is dated back to 2002. And after 1974 time stood still for this band and they are not aware of what's going on today. But this is meant as a compliment. The album is well worked out, and the heaviness of the sound comes not from third-class Sab-riffs. It's the whole spirit of the album, with its heavy vibe. Eli Brown's vocals are Blues-filled and his passionate roughness fits perfectly to the songs. What makes this album so entertaining and enjoyable, too, is the variety of all eleven songs.
The nearly 15 minutes long "Back In Time" takes the listener on a ride from heavy groovy riffs into a long-winding guitarsolo to a hypnotic percussion-part while the instrumental "Lost In Sonic Distortion", like the name says is a very trippy and spaced-out number. I know to appreciate it, that the band has included the mighty "Steps Away", which was on the "Stone Deaf Forever" compilation on Red Sun Records, and since then, it belongs to one of my faves of this compilation. As on mostly every 70's Hard Psych album, with "Deception's Game" M-SQUAD have also intergrated a typical Boogie R'n'R number and , of course, they are playing it with the same authentic spirit as the trippy song-parts. "Before The Grave" is the slowest and doomiest song on the album, and it sounds like an old Blood Farmers track. Once again, Matt Holt's psyched-out guitarwork shines through the song, as on the whole album. There are more songs to discover on "Smoke", and I think that M-SQUAD are proving, that it's still possible to play uncompromising 60's/ 70's Rock, without being just a lame retro-band. "Smoke" is a fantastic burner, far away from any kind of trends and I hope, that this jewel will be discovered by YOU! Order this album from Primate Media and check out the M-SQUAD website for complete infos.