Ecstatic Vision - Sonic Praise

5 songs
37:59 minutes
***** ***


Power trios have been around since the day after rockíníroll was invented. There is something magic about the primal intensity of three sweaty guys playing guitar, bass and drums. Philadelphia based band Ecstatic Vision are one among many such rock bands that successfully follow in the line of the heavy psych movement which originated in the late Sixties. Imagine the trippy space rock of Hawkwind combined with the primal rockíníroll of MotŲrhead, and you have already a pretty good impression of what to expect. The band also quotes weirder artists like avant garde jazz icon Sun Ra or German commune kraut rock hippies Amon DŁŁl II among their influences, something which becomes clearest on Ecstatic Visionís longer and more improvised material. Another parallel might be Monster Magnet, and not only because guitarist and vocalist Douglas Sabolick looks like a slightly younger Dave Wyndorf. And considering that Sabolick used to play guitar with metalcore pioneers A Life Once Lost, itís astonishing to see his musical development over the years.

The five tracks on Ecstatic Visionís debut album Sonic Praise can be put into three different categories. The opener Journey and the albumís third track Donít Kill The Vibe are quite concise tracks at five minutes each and show the trio from their most hard rocking side. There is not much to say about the lyrics. Sabolickís vocals are harsh, the lyrics are sparse, but it all fits into the musical behemoth that is Ecstatic Vision. This is hard hitting psychedelic rock that definitely takes no prisoners. Occasional blubbery synth injections make for the trippy atmosphere the band must surely have been aiming for. The five minute long title track feels like a journey to late Sixties India, and it is here where the krautrock and jazz elements are most obvious. The twelve minute long Astral Plane and the ten minute long final track Cross The Divide are two further gems that show that heavy psych unfolds its magic best when the song has no boundaries.

Sonic Praise doesnít reinvent the heavy psych movement, but Ecstatic Vision sound authentic enough to make their debut album quite a treat for fans of the genre. With not even forty minutes running time, the record is rather short. Had the band added two more rockers and one more psychedelic track, they would have given their stoned fans more time to enjoy the music before they are faced with the stress of the record ending too soon. This may be a wide gap from the vocalistís metalcore past, but it is a welcome addition to the heavy psych canon.

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