TMW ALBUM OF THE MONTH:
STARGAZER – “PSYCHIC SECRETIONS”
(Feb 1, 2021 / Dec 11th 2020. Nuclear War Now! Productions)
StarGazer, from Adelaide, Australia, do not only share their name with one of the best tunes ever written, but they have also released an extremely strong contender for all the self respecting Album of the Year list makers out there. Yes, it may be early days as far as things go time wise, but damn this album is something wonderfully special. It really is something we feel everybody should check out right now and have a listen to if they have not already. A very worthy choice as the Album of the Month for The Metal Wanderlust.
The TMW Staff had a chat about it:
PCO: “Well, this album was quite a positive surprise indeed! The Great Mack kept telling me about it and when I eventually checked it out my mind was blown! As a sucker for everything Hellwitch, Cynic, Death and Atheist related, I was lured into this album faster than one could say syzygial miscreancy!”
Your Grouchy Friend: “As a player of plenty of fretless bass, Your Grouchy Friend was salivating at this album from the very first listen. The bass rides high in the mix, it glows with lovely technique… this is a bass player’s delight. The prog arrangements feel as though they could be from the seventies in certain moments, but the overall package is irresistibly blackened. Such wondrous flavor. Suddenly it sounds like a review for char grilled chicken?! Seriously, this rips – if you’re partial to your bass sans frets, it rips more.”
PCO: “Your Grouchy Friend has a point there! In our age where we don’t really get great bass lines too often (and when the bass players are reduced to second second guitarists usually) this album is pure ear candy for the bass oriented. From start to finish, sheer perfection!”
VUK: “First of all, if you’re a bass player, be careful with this one. You might shit yourself. Secondly, if you’re a guitarist who lives or dies by the quality of the riff, these songs will sustain you for quite some time. And if you’re a drummer, aside from the fact that you’re probably annoying as hell at band practice because you can’t stop banging on shit for thirty seconds, well… you’ll love this album, but you’re probably still a wanker. I don’t make the rules. You chose the instrument. Deal with it. Jokes aside, “Psychic Secretions” just kills, and from every imaginable angle. Multifaceted as hell. A glorious record.”
Rotnoxnatl: “A few weeks back as I was attempting to catch up on emails from The Great Mack and VUK and actually LISTEN to some of the voluminous amounts of great music they were sending me, I put on “Psychic Secretions” from StarGazer. Holy shit, is this thing brilliant and just what I wanted to hear! Being a bass player (although, I don’t play my fretless often enough), I was immediately hooked. Is Blackened Prog Death Metal a genre? If it wasn’t, then it is now. I’m sure for some, the bass being more out front than on most recordings might be off-putting, but I love the mix on this album.
The fantastic bass lines of The Great Righteous Destroyer will do just that – righteously destroy you! At times, I would swear that he’s playing two basses at the same time, with these glorious chords shattering your eardrums. What’s that? There are drums and guitars on this album? Yeah, and they’re pretty fucking awesome too. I especially like the very classical breakdown in “Star Vassal” from the guitar side. And Khronomancer certainly keeps the magical time clock ticking in every time signature you can think of. But the star of the show is the bass, and that’s just fine with me.”
PCO: “The only thing that I am really, really disappointed with the album is the somewhat confusing release policy surrounding it. There was a vinyl version out via Nuclear War Now! in December 2020 and the rest CD, Digital released in 2021. This will make list freaks, like your old hairy ears here, scratch our heads in confusion. After all, as it is what it is, this is basically a 2020 release. Sucks balls, as I was really eager to call this a top 2021 album.”
The Great Mack: “I’ll leave all the technical Jargon to the experts about fretless bass and other fish that don’t need to worry about things (I can catch bass, just haven’t figured out how to play one yet). I first found out about StarGazer when I was introduced to Cauldron Black Ram by a mate of mine from the Aussie band Hellbringer. CBR‘s mix of grunty off kilter nastiness had me obsessed, and when he casually mentioned some of the members (The Great Righteous Destroyer – aka a certain Mr. Damon Good and The Serpent Inquisitor – also known as Denny Blake) may also be in a few other bands, I was all ears..
So down the good road of Heavy Metal we skipped hand in hand, and of course one of the destinations was the very band we are talking about and their album “A Merging to the Boundless” (2014). Amazed I was. The ability of these fine chaps to twist the mind and make every instrument they touch produce tunes of such excellence was instantly on display. And to make things a little quicker, have they kept form since then? That’s one big giant fuck yes from yours truly. “Psychic Secretions” contains an absolute wealth of superb musicianship, in every single aspect on display. Moments of sheer beauty melt into moments of sheer terror. So many different styles all thrown into the mix, one minute a Maiden – esque guitar line and bass run, the next Glen Benton would be checking his nappy. I shit you not (pardon the pun haha..)
Absolute magnificence, and I figure seeing as it was released in 2021 as well, it is more than up for the running in this years lists! I only wish I had more time to explain just how good this is. Let us leave the last thought to our mate Rot.”
Rotnoxnatl: “After playing it three more times in the headphones while at work, all I can say are two things. First, I need to go explore their back catalog since this was my intro to the band and second, BUY IT!”
Our buddy Rot pretty much nailed it in there. Buy it! You will not be disappointed. Included last below is a link a to an Aussie distributor so you don’t get murdered by postage if you are, like a lot of us, based Down Under!