Cielo Drive’s debut album is a full hommage to the big names of heavy stoner, southern and traditional psych-doom panorama, as plainly stated by the band that “ … was born from the personal desire to play and mix Stoner and Doom, with no special refinements or stylistic innovation, enriching the mixture with a good dose of Blues. The sound of Cielo Drive is naked, raw and direct …”. And lyrics are based on another passion of the band, of classic horror movies of the 60s and 70s, Horror/Gothic literature (well, Lovecraft for sure), and introspection. So here is “Red Magick Mushroom” that will keep you pleasantly busy over 45 minutes with its six tracks. Yes, only six tracks, so you have to expect rather long songs (up to almost 12 minutes-long in one case). The opener “Dexter” introduces Cielo Drive’s powerful heavy distorted riffs drenched in dirty southern groove and enriched with wah-wah effects invariably sounding “American”. Vocal parts are added as somewhat subdued choir mostly in the first part of the track. This track is maybe a bit too long (over 8 minutes): the absence of remarkable tempo changes eventually dilutes too much the impact of the winning riffs. The title track “Red Magick Mushroom” is lead by tough Sabbathian riffs and sees the vocal section getting more powerful and varied as well. This is a quite multifaceted track where the band mixes traditional doom, psychedelia (especially at the closure of the track) and even something, I guess, from the other musical experiences of the band members. For example, the interesting highly melodic refrains where even some growl is heard for a few seconds, reminded me of Swedish-type melodic death metal à-la-In Flames.
The closing track, “Saturnalia”, sees the band exploring psychedelic, desert, when not post-metal, territories in the long ethereal intro, although the powerful, beefy riffs heard before will soon come back. Again deformed vocals struggle for emerging amidst the riffs. The “desert” will come back in the atmospheric inset in the heart of the track, where again that cool tribal drumming can be heard and appreciated. A final “heavy metal” charge is there to remember that these guys plus gal are able to beat hard as well …So, I would say, a cool way to start! If I have to compare what I heard in this album to bands in the by now big Italian scene, well, I think I may mention bands like Black Rainbows, El-Thule, Oak’s Mary, Hards of Orlac, and so on. Plus, obviously, something personal added by the band. As a listener, for the future I would advise the band not to exaggerate with an excessive length of the tracks and maybe to give vocals a more important role. Get in contact with the band for this cool slab of a debut!
Words by Marilena Moroni