By Earthdog

Across Tundras are certainly no couch-potatoes when it comes to recording, They been together as a band for about 7 years and have produced about one album per year and without a doubt in my mind, just keep on getting better. "Sage" is their seventh album and their most ambitious for several reasons. The first is it plays out like a concept record of sorts, there seems to be a common theme running throughout the album and each song neatly flows into the next in a seamless manner. The band is hard to describe in just a few words, they are very cinematic in many respects. The music evokes imagery of wide-open desolate landscapes and I couldn't help but think of Hunter S Thompson and the 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' novel. Musically the band plays a psychedelic bluesy sludge meets a Neil Young kind of americana so it is anything but typical.

The album starts with a long instrumental section in 'In the Name of River Grand' and already visions of barren western country is what I see in my mind. At first the sound is kind of tribal but when the vocals make their long-awaited first appearance, the vibe is different again. The second track, 'Hijo de Desierto' is more typical of the band's sound :psychedelic bluesy sludge rock mixed with eclectic influences that you especially hear in the lead work which sounds much like the old blues masters. The vibe on 'Hijo de Desierto' is kind of druggy but at the same time evokes earthiness and the feelings you get from being at one with nature. The music has a spiritual element that is totally enthralling at times but still has the fuzzed-out sludge of their earlier releases. But that sludge is becoming more textured these days and more diverse.

'Buried Arrows' continues in a similar vein  with even more heavy doses of americana... you can almost taste the dusty landscape in this tune. While the song is steeped in atmosphere, they also unleash some stomping grooves into the mix. 'The Book of Truth' delivers post-rock with a doomy intensity, much like what Earth jamming with Neurosis might sound like. 'Tchulu Junction' is one of the more mellow tracks on the album and I hate to use the word 'organic' but that really does sum up the sound of the band at this point. My favorite track on the album would have to be the tune that is up next, the 12 minute 'Mean Season Movin’ on.' This track blends a Neil Young kind of country twang with pulsating 60's psychedelic sounds injected with sludge. The band as a unit seems to work best when combining these elements and this track is a mesmerizing 12 minutes that you will go back to time and time again.

The other track is an impressive instrumental titled 'Shunka Sapa' which showcases the bands ability as fine musicians and composers. 'Sage' is a transcendent, esthetically pleasing recoding that is hard to fault. While it is not the most exciting album ever or the heaviest or the most experimental, it has more than enough of each element to be throughly enjoyable from start to finish. Vocalist and guitarist, Tanner Olsen has called this their best work to date and he is 100% correct. If you thought their other albums were good, you will go nuts over this one......8.5/10