Review by Rick Ossian
On first listen to this record, I was blown away completely. Not that that doesn’t happen every now and then, but these boys can really jam! Hailing from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, these four fellows have crafted a fine and funky hard rock LP (only slightly preceded by a 4-song EP) in the vein of heroes such as Clutch, Monster Magnet and The Eagles of Death Metal, amongst others. Crobot are comprised of members Brandon Yeagley (vocals and harp), Bishop (guitar and vocals) and the Figueroa brothers, Jake on the bass and Paul on the drums. Not only will you be transported in time (most likely back to about 74 or so) when you hear this set — you will not be able to stop yourself from rocking out! Have no fear, dear reader; I know I tend to exaggerate occasionally. Trust me on this one, go out and purchase the Mp3 or the CD AS SOON AS YOU CAN (take a look above for links – Ed). You will not regret it!
Legend of the Spacebourne Killer is up first, and it is also the single from this collection. Imagine if you will a track that is just as much 70’s psych as it is hard rock and funky. I envisioned four blokes with low-slung guitars and clinging to their instruments with no small amount of excitement. Although it is, in my opinion, FAR too short (as are the rest of the tracks), their is some pretty intense stuff here. Check out the brief guitar snippet at the 2-minute mark.
When you hear Nowhere To Hide, hang on for dear life! The chops will indicate, again, a naturally swinging heavy 70’s groove, and at this point the guitar solo that comes in (again at 2:00) is soaked in wah/crybaby FX. It is the sort of tune that will make you want to stand up!
Track number three is another energetic, guitar/bass/drum-filled slam, and it is titled The Necromancer. Harmonica and drums assault us at the outset, and the entire presentation is totally high energy, so no surprise there. The vibe seems familiar enough, but like so many others, it sounds like something or someone you’ve heard before – you just can’t put your finger on who or where or what. The harmonica makes a return at the two-minute mark, and at the close all stop, with a bit of feedback. A classic, to be sure!
La Mano De Lucifer comes in at number 4, and starts life as a slow blues, with a wicked lead snipped at the intro. I was drawn towards some of the lyrics, so allow me to share: “A failed rebellion/Against the one true creator/Exiled to the fire/Better to reign in hell/Than to serve God’s will“. The bass reminds us who’s boss at about 1:10, then things kick in immediately afterwards, turning what might have been a ‘slow blues’ into a ham-fisted, fury-filled anthem! Kudos to the boys for taking on the subject of religion, by the way. Nowadays, it seems everybody loves that and politics for their topics (my two LEAST favorite subjects).
The Skull of Geronimo is my personal fave up to this point. It is, as before, drenched in heavy 70’s funky psych. At 1:45 there is a downshift to what I will deem ‘warrior blues’. At one point Brandon bellows “we’ll keep our secrets in hell!” Great stuff.
Cloud Spiller is in a similar vein as Skull, plus there’s a succubus! Gotta love that, right. Questionable lyrics aside (Heart so heavy/Like a broken down levee), this is a punk/pop/funk/heavy metal explosion! Enjoy with the volume up if you dare!
Fly On the Wall attempts to sucker us in again with a faux slow blues intro, then WHAM! To the back of your seat, if you please! The vocal delivery is a sly, smoothly super-charged energetic one, and the title of the LP comes into play on a few occasions. The riffs can only be described as chops, as they sound extremely choppy. There is a quirky guitar interlude of sorts (1:30), and again the proceedings conclude just as we were starting to dig the groove! Any of these tracks, for that matter, could have contained a brief psychedelic jam about mid-way or so…
I thought for sure that Night of the Sacrifice was going to jump off of my PC and live on its own. It is so fresh, and energetic, it will tear your head off if you let it! More funk and heaviness simultaneously, again, so no real diversion from the formula, but when it’s not broke, don’t fix it! Again, I was drawn to the prophetic lyrics; “NOW YOU’RE GONNA DIE/Step right up don’t be shy/Your senses will collide/Smoke and blood/No one gets out alive”. This is a declaration, heralding funky, heavy rock again and again. At 2:00, there is another wah/crybaby-soaked guitar solo that again practically jumps out of the speakers at you, and then, like magic, it’s over!
Chupacabra (“Monster of Mexico“) features a scraping guitar intro with some serious chops again. The story itself features “300 dead sheep/Victims of the creature/I found that dirt-sucker down by the river“. The lead guitar solo (2:20) is soaked in FX again, and the tune itself provides a lovely power-packed punch for all!
Wizards is a slamming, chopping chord-fest again. Loving it, just wish it was longer!
Queen of the Light is one of the longer numbers (along with La Mano de Lucifer), and features a bit more subtle of an intro. It is longer, and more introspective – which comes with length, of course. The vibe here is spooky, almost menacing at times, but features some cool lyrics along with the creepy vocal delivery: “King of the Damned/Still singing the same old dead song/ Brimstone bride/The grass is always burning on the other side.” At 3:00 and at 3:30 there are the wah guitar solos again, at this point a mainstay.
To sum up, then? Crobot are a twisting, turning, churning, heavy psych funk machine that gets pretty fast sometimes…If this is your kind of music, then you have hit the jackpot!