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SONS OF OTIS (X) CD

It's been four years ago, since SONS OF OTIS last album "Songs For Worship" had been released by The Music Cartel, and when I listen to it today, I can't help but it still gives me the certain feeling, that this band could've done it so much better. Not, that it was a worse album, but I missed strong and convincing songs as they did it with the mighty "Templeball" album or the amazing debut "SpaceJumboFudge", what can be called the sludgiest space-doom album of all times. After they had changed the record label again from The Music Cartel to Detroit finest Small Stone Records, it's time for the next chapter, simply entitled "X". First, the new album isn't as impressive as "Templeball" was, but it contains some excellent cuts, where the band shows again that they are still unique and have created a characteristic effective sound during the last ten years.

Their spaced-out doom blues is earthy as fresh clay and heavy like a steamroller, but they have the ability to ignore gravity and create massive dark sonic galaxies. Not much has changed here and all the things we love (or hate) about this trio are in best place, as the weighty riffs that are drenched in a black Hendrix/St.Vitus brew and the heavy tripped-out vocals from guitarist Ken Baluke. His riffs are powered by best vintage tube amps that generate such an impressive warm and thick tone, while his charismatic vocals are sounding as angry and lysergic as a Dave Wyndorf, who's suffering on an overdose of stereoids. Some of the here included highlights are definitely the long instrumental "Liquid Jam", and sometimes I wished that Ken Baluke comes up with more guitar-solos like here, because he got the skills to play very intense and melodic stuff. He's no outstanding technician, but he got the right feeling (or the blues...), what's more important than anything else.

Another song's called "Help Me" and it should destroy you (in a good way). Well paced and well performed like the complete album. Another instrumental cut is "Eclipse", very Melvins-like but more spaced-out, and maybe one of the scariest songs this band had ever written, what makes the title real appropriate. The first minutes of "Relapse" are sounding very oriental, before the whole song drifts into darkest Vitus-regions with its slow crushing riffs. Once again, the band had included a cover-version to the album's track-list, and after Jimi Hendrix and Saint Vitus this time it's the Steppenwolf classic "The Pusher", which the band plays in their very own OTIS-style. It would've been better, if they had included an unknown song, because "The Pusher" had been already released as a 10" a few years ago. Anyway, it's good to know that SONS OF OTIS are back with a strong new album and if you dig the previous releases you'll love "X".

(KK)

www.sonsofotis.com

www.smallstone.com

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