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ACID KING


ACID KING

"Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere"

By The Great Sun Jester


  Some bands form legacies when the world isn't watching. Four full-length albums in 20+ years doesn't seem like the sort of foundation long term respect is built on, but the near universal respect Acid King enjoys from their loyal fans and intelligent music fans gives lie to that. Through superb studio releases and explosive live shows, Acid King have established themselves as one of the foremost practitioners of "doom" and "stoner" metal active today and an influential force on those who came after. The band's new album from Svart Records, "Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere", reaffirms and builds on their legacy.
 
The hypnotic "Intro" gives listeners a sample of what to expect. Key strengths remain in place despite a ten-year gap in studio recordings. The band has long since shown their mastery of the psychedelic blues idiom, but they have equally refined control over the harder elements of their sound. The latter point serves this album well. The first song with vocals, "Silent Pictures", has an arguably rawer edge than anything on the massive Acid King III. The music hits with a restless, clanging swing and an inexorable crawl that bears down on listeners. Acid King's vocalist, Lori S, sings from somewhere in the heart of this chaos and sounds like a specter wailing in a world of fire. Her singing gives the track a final atmospheric touch.
 
 Acid King's psychedelic inclinations guide "Coming Down from Outer Space" and warp what would be, in lesser hands, a groove-oriented belter into an expansive and cinematic tumble. The music strongly approximates a sense of falling, but it's a bumpy descent with a handful of riffs and tempo changes bludgeoning you along the way. Strong drumming helps make all things possible and it's no different for Acid King on this track. Joey Osbourne mixes impressive finesse and power steering the band through the changes. "Red River" opens with a mounting guitar drone that erupts into a first-class dirge. Acid King leaves blood and guts strewn over every minute of this blistering assault and, pushed by the rhythm section's pounding counterpoint, wring every ounce of drama from the turgid riff. Osbourne's drumming can't resist spiking the song with unusual flourishes that move the track a few notes closer to the impending collapse that never arrives.
 
"Infinite Skies" has the band still locked in bulldozer mode and plowing over any resistance. Their relentless, battering ram riffing defies conventional logic. There are few flourishes, few resolutions, just a ceaseless hammering anchoring your attention to the song's groove. The album's nominal title track, "Center of Everywhere', shifts the band into a spacier mode than the preceding songs and falls closer to the earlier "Coming Down from Outer Space" than, as an example, "Red River". Space defines the track - the palpable chemistry between Osbourne's energetic percussion and Lori S's guitar knots itself together more tightly here than anywhere else on the album.
 
Acid King's new material and performances prove they remain as vital as ever. Despite over two decades of history and considerable gaps in activity, inspiration has never flagged. The eight tracks on the new album don't demand your attention - they are intent on grabbing you by the collar and holding you close as long as they can. Highly recommended.

www.svartrecords.com

www.acidking.com