Acid King
Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since the Busse Woods stranglers, Acid King have released any new music.  They put out their fuzzed-out, blown amp masterpiece III on Smallstone and there hasn’t been a recording since…until now!  Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere is their first album in a decade.  My fanship dates back to the Man’s Ruin days, so I have always held a baited, blotter on the tongue breath that we haven’t heard the end of the band’s sonic riff-plunder and morphine drip, psychedelic doom.

“Intro” is laced and loaded, hopping the first shooting star into Hawkwind’s FX galaxy.  The hazy, Nyquil guzzlin’ riffs of Lori S. and Joey Osborne’s jazzy, fill-intensive backbeats are like a pair of old friends you haven’t seen ages.  They build the jam nicely as Mark Lamb’s unshaven bass fuzz plugs the space in between.  Time is taken, but not wasted to lead up to the song’s bulging elephantitis of the riff.  The whole groove they catch is hard and heavy, yet smooth and breezy all in one deadly, downtempo deviation.  Lori provides brilliant, solar-charged leads throughout, and the rhythm section works the pocket matching her every move.  It’s like they never left us, Man’s Ruin never folded and a million other heartbreaking universal coincidences never happened at the same time.  We’ve somehow time-travelled back to ’97, and shit’s cool…it’s just fine.

Lori’s expressive, dopamine-doused vocals are back in session on “Silent Pictures.”  Distortion grows atop patches of distortion, the guitar and bass answering each other in a Marco Polo, call n’ response which spires upward into a locked-on, hallucinatory riff standard similar to their burnout classic, “Free.”  Osborne rolls deftly across the toms, adding cymbal accents and driving blues like only he can.  The lead guitar bends like light through a prism, and Lori’s howl echoes from somewhere deep within the ruins.  Fans of the old school master craftsmanship of Sabbath, Sleep, Man’s Ruin Records’ and the Maryland doom legends will be feelin’ this.  At 3:40 the lucid, psilocybin riffs and the pummeling, larger than God beats coming out of Joey’s kit reach a higher level of psychedelic experience, Mark pushin’ the groove from behind with all of his might while using only a few notes to speak tomes of hard-rock knowledge.  Lori’s lead will send you off to the psych ward permanently, the melodic power and grace of her playing second to none.

A lowdown, barroom battle royal composed of angry bikers is the image conjured from the first warty riff of “Coming Down from Outer Space.”  Osborne’s fancy kick pedal footwork and accurate, white lightning fills give this tune a harder shove, and the riffs are a well-greased engine of dank, trudging doom that’ll trample you like a heard of buffalo.  Careful use of repetition drills the vocals into your head and when you need it most Lori’s main lick sidewinds like a desert snake coiling for a poisonous strike.  Her lead in the second half is all piped up on peyote, turning out to be the song’s secret weapon before it collapses into an oozy pile of tar black sludge.  “Laser Headlights” contains one of the album’s fattest riff-spliffs, a medical grade, power-blues smoker that eventually almost bottoms out, but comes back with 10 times the ferocity at the 2:54 mark as Osborne mangles a traditional rock beat into an infinite fill far vaster than space and time itself.  I think I hear him striking a gong back there too.  Lamb’s low-end tone comes from so far down it practically falls through the Earth, giving Lori plenty of working area to construct an arcane tower of melodious lead-work.  Jesus Fuck…this shit is unholy!

Okay, I lied to you cosmonauts.  “Red River” might have the biggest baddest behemoth of mountain high riffage on the album.  They are plugged into the melodic massiveness of Maryland doom with all of the right note-bends giving it that blood drooling, heat stroke salivation of the best stuff on Man’s Ruin fire scorched roster…and the best stuff in Acid King’s back catalog for that matter.  Lori piles subdued leads atop of the meditative rhythms, every measure hitting the target.  5:16 brings a throne conquering doom riff of proportions I can’t even describe with the English language.  I feel like the answer to my lack of words lies within an ancient Bible I have yet to excavate from a craggy tomb.  They up the octane on “Infinite Skies” which is like a parade of bulldozers running your ass over on 120 degree blacktop…every riff is so in the red that it’s merciless, as the cyclonic rhythms suck you straight into the maddening eye of the storm.  Lori’s vocals haven’t age a bit, in fact she sounds rougher, tougher and more melodic than ever.  The title track only furthers every attribute this record has going for it across an extended, 9+ minute jam that touches down on “Outro’s” reprise of the opening instrumental.  Astounding…

If you have come for a musical journey, you’re getting far more than what you’ll pay for on this record.  Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere isn’t surprising because it’s good; it’s surprising because somehow this great audio force have just created the best album of their career.  With their past accomplishments weighed on the scale, you’ve got a miracle on your hands.  Acid King never made a misstep over their countless prior releases and has now taken everything that rendered their sound unique and transformed it into an impenetrable fortress where they truly wear the crown, and no contender is about to break in and steal it from them.  Is this one of the best albums of 2015?  You’re damn right it is!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
April 21st, 2015

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