In the world of post-genre music, everybody’s looking for the new thing to mash together, remix or cover on Youtube. The album is dead, and artfully crafted playlists reign supreme. Album reviews almost seem antiquated when compared to the listening habits of most people. Hell there’s just too many bands now. Who even has time to listen to complete albums?
This is a trend in which Blaak Heat Shujaa simply exists apart from. The Edge of an Era, produced by Kyuss’ Scott Reeder, mesmerizes with equal parts prog flair and desert rock drive. Under the bedrock of bass player Antoine Morel-Vulliez’s rumbling grooves, this trio from France create soundscapes as hypnotic as they are driving.
A common criticism of this kind of music in general is that it’s a little too in love with riffs that can easily bleed together between bands into a generic dum-da-dum-da-dum-da-dum until it’s just plain dumb. Even someone as fanatical as myself about the genre can cop to a fair amount of eye rolling at the degree to which some bands rest on their drop d laurels.
The sheer range and groove-ability of this album is what makes it such a standout in a genre filled to the brim with wizard hats and pot jokes. Few bands chasing that desert sound hit their mark with such a stoke of virtuosity that more pop-oriented psych bands like Tame Impala just can’t measure up to. This emphasis on musicality and a relative lack of vocals may turn off those without the patience for ten minute songs, but this isn’t an album for them anyways.
The vocals, when they’re present, are another way in which The Edge of an Era stands out from most of its peers in that they’re relatively clean and still feel at home amidst the driving bass and wailing guitar licks.
The Obsurantist Fiend and Shadows are probably the standouts, but this is an album that deserves a full listen through. It’s ability to be as dynamic as it is heavy rivals the work of the producer and member of desert rock godfathers Kyuss, and any fans of theirs will feel right at home bobbing their heads to this beast of an album.