Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Hella Vader - XVIIIdotdotdot
This is one of those maddening releases that drips potential, but suffers from horridly inconsistent production, ranging from cruddy mono to thick grunge. Musically diverse and interesting, aurally dreadful. They cover a couple of Close-Outs songs - descended from that band maybe?
Picks: The Red Triangle, Pursuit In Progress, Luci-Fuzz Theme, Under The Shield, Creep! Stomp! Twist!, Gummi Robots Theme, Ghost Of 1964, Eviscerated, Meatyard, La Bruja Blanca, Thoughts Of Theda, Hella, Fuzz Munch

Track by Track Review


Slow Gin Fuzz dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy muted surf rhythm guitar and evil fuzz lead. "Slow Gin Fuzz" is not very melodic at all, just riffs and patterns. Dark and threatening, with some tremolo and a basic rhythm section.

Mammothopolis
Surf (Instrumental)

Echoplex play with stereo delay

The Red Triangle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Red Triangle" is a slight variation on The Fender IV's "Mar Gaya." The ska rhythm guitar is cool, and the leads are well played. The bass is thin and the drums are ambient and way in the back. The whole track is over compressed. Probably a rehearsal tape.

Galumph dotdot
Sludge (Instrumental)

Very heavy and dark, like death metal sludge... "Galumph" is not very interesting musically. It's melody line is just a scale exercise. It is ugly... kinda like Blue Cheer at the beach, but not as engaging as they were.

Star Crunch dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A think mono recording of a surf grinder is over dubbed with stereo extra guitar weirdness that's a bit overbearing. There's fire in these bones, but it seems only to be about the power and the strange extras. Too bad, because some parts are a real surf ripper.

Pursuit In Progress dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spacy sirens and chord chops, and then drama ensues, and fuzz rules in a post-Davie Allan world. Riff rock in the biker fuzz tradition. This is identical to The Close Outs version.

Luci-Fuzz Theme dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eerie keys, guitar, and drums create a dangerous scene as the giant fuzz bass gnarls even the grodiest of dungeons. Huge, menacing, and downright scary. Egad!

Under The Shield dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thin and craggy sound, but "Under The Shield" sports some tuff double picking on the very serviceable melody line. While this sounds poor, the performance is fine and I can only imagine the power it would wield if captured in crisp, full sound.

Creep! Stomp! Twist! dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Written with a sixties Minneapolis surf feeling, played with abandon, and recorded in cheesy lo-fi that just doesn't help. Lots of potential, probably rips live.

Gummi Robots Theme dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a song that was brought forward from The Close-Outs. Echoed lead guitar, weird fuzz second guitar, and jangly chords. The sound is not complimentary, but the originality of this European-styled instro saves the day. Very interesting.

Ghost Of 1964 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Ghost Of 1964" cycles and churns, with deep baritone guitar playing the bass part. Busy, rockin', but more jammy than musical.

Eviscerated dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark double picked lead guitar, throbbing bass, and a surf beat beneath. "Eviscerated" is a ho number captured in near-mono. It's very grode, frequently powerful, but lacking production values. Could be a monster.

She-Fuzz a Go-Go
Surf (Instrumental)

Geez! Transistor-radio thin and annoying... unlistenable!

Meatyard dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and lumbering, psychedelic wah wah, dangerous gloom, and menacing sludge. The darkness of the Wolf City period Amon Duul II run amok in this brooding track. Very cool and original.

La Bruja Blanca dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fine melody line and layered rhythm track deliver an unusual and engaging instro. The organ is sixties garage sounding. While the drums are nearly ambient and in the background, this still works pretty well. Some really nice moments.

Thoughts Of Theda dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Thoughts Of Theda" is a slow and pretty instrumental with a pleasant, summery melody. The mix is weird, with bass on the extreme left and second surf guitar on the right, and the drums often inconsequential. Production values aside, this is a very cool piece of music.

Hella dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Murky drums slowly rise to drive this number into a heavy throb. The rhythm guitar is overbearing, but there is strong playing on the lead and a mysterious middle eastern feeling.

Fuzz Munch dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Super crunch ugly psychedelic noise much like some of Death Ride '69's live material. This is all about danger and dank dungeons.