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TIA CARRERA (Cosmic Priestess) LP/CD

What a trip: TIA CARRERA set off on a new spectacular journey of sonic adventures, finding out more about heavy blues-infected jams and ass-kickin riffage. But this time they have managed to reach a new level of power, heaviness and perfect balance that I wasn't expecting. And this despite the fact that I'm a huge fan of their previous album 'The Quintessential'. But with 'Cosmic Priestess', it seems as if TIA CARRERA have reinvented themselves. Incidentally, it offers a clearer view of each members talent. Every time you think the guitar can't go any further over the top, it climbs another hundred feet up and cannonballs off the edge again. Jamey Simms and Jason Morales switch guitar and bass seamlessly, sometimes mid-jam that results in a tight, blistering instrumental concoction of both deliberate destination and improvisation.

And then there is Erik Conn whose powerful and creative drumming style leads the band toward a harder sound. He brings an edgy approach to the band's rhythms and structure, which is especially noticeable during 'Saturn Missile Battery'. Erik Conn drives the whole thing forward like a twin turbo in a '72 Dodge Charger. This track is the centerpiece of 'Cosmic Priestess', and despite it's enormous thirty-three minutes length, it rocks like hell. It is truly fascinating to hear the development of this song that grows like a living organism. Before this superb track, however, there is 'Sand, Stone and Pearl' that is significantly calmer but as good as everything else on this album. A Fender Rhodes adds a very special spice to this epic jam while the band invokes the spirit of Frank Zappa. In particular, it reminds me of his great album 'Zoot Allures' and 'Sand, Stone and Pearl' would fit perfectly between 'Black Napkins' and 'The Torture Never Stops'.

As a side-effect it's a perfect introduction to 'Saturn Missile Battery', but take care - this "introduction" is fifteen minutes long, because we are in the world of TIA CARRERA. These two epic jams are framed by the opener 'Slave Cylinder' as well as 'A Wolf In Wolf's Clothing' whereas especially the last tune made an impression on me. It's a flawless combination of hard-driving heavy blues and ass-shaking funk. I am quite sure that Jimi Hendrix or Buddy Miles would have been proud of TIA CARRERA. In sum, 'Cosmic Priestess' is a breathtaking and soulful album. Here, there are no sections of unstructured noodling and it's an exciting listening experience: warm, detailed, alive and always enthralling. Also worth mentioning is the killer production, which makes one feel as if the band is playing in your living room. Virtually no other band embodies the term power trio better than TIA CARRERA. For me personally, 'Cosmic Priestess' is one of the first highlights in 2011. So if you really love creative heavy music and freedom of musical expression buy this album. You will not regret it because it's truly a masterpiece.