BLACK RAINBOWS, Holy Moon (2013, Heavy Psych Sounds)
Could this be the skull world’s equivalent of “mooning”? I mean, they don’t have an ass to work with, so maybe a quick upthrust of the jaw is the way a skull would gesture his mischevious indolence? Perhaps this is what’s being depicted on the cover of the appropriately-titled Holy Moon. Skull-mooning cheered on by occult symbols that give him strength to be such a crazy man as this. It’s hardly as surprising and crass as a full-buttocks mooning, and a skull obviously also lacks a hand with which to do the old Italian chin flick, so just cut him some slack and pretend you’re shocked, okay?
We’ve had a lot of EPs come through the Skullection recently, and I guess it’s a fair indication that many bands don’t regard EPs with as much importance as their full-lengths. “Oh, that thing with two crappy new songs we left off the album and three shitty-sounding live tracks? I dunno…a skull is fine, I guess.” So, this Italian band play stoner rock/metal, and it’s telling that so many stoner bands choose a big dumb skull to represent their music. There isn’t much thought put into stoner music so why should they exhaust an ounce of precious ambition for the artwork? Black Rainbows have this sound down pat, that’s for sure, and that means it sounds a ton like Kyuss meets Sleep meets Clutch meets Fu Manchu. Good for them, and good for the fans who demand things that fit comfortably into the stoner template the way this does. But since there are a zillion other desert/psych/stoner bands that sound just like this, you’re not missing out on much if you miss out on Black Rainbows. You already know exactly what this EP sounds like without having heard a note. Trust us. Two bonus points for the cover of MC5’s “Black to Comm” — not because it’s an ass-jackingly amazing version, but because at least they didn’t bring yet another version of “Kick Out the Jams” into the world.
— Friar Wagner