My second venture into the world of Colour Haze is “CO2”, which is technically their 4th record. However, this is the album that took Colour Haze to the public masses, being the first to go from limited CD-R run (excepting the much earlier “Chopping Machine”) to regular CD courtesy of Monster Zero records. With that little bit of chronology out of the way, how does this compare to what Colour Haze are doing today (today equaling “Tempel”)? Initial impressions are pretty much what I expected, more stoner metal and less overtly psychedelic of the old school Krautrock variety (Guru Guru, Silberbart, etc…). No question Kyuss circa “Sky Valley” is the primary influence at this stage. And I consider that a good thing. Most of the tracks are extended, with slightly ethereal vocals and plenty of sludge thunder (you can hear the buzzing of the amps before each track). And, best of all, the loose guitar jams which are both bluesy and somewhat psychedelic. Top song goes to the title track - naturally it’s the longest (11+ minutes) with the most delicious guitar soloing. A good one.
Even though I first heard the name Colour Haze over 5 years ago, it’s not until their 8th and latest release, that I finally had a chance to hear this much praised German trio. Probably natural that I would start with the nicely titled “Tempel”, spelled out in glorious German. Without hesitation, I can say the band was not over-hyped to me in anyway, and deliver the goods in satisfying faction. And I’m told this is not their best work, and if that’s the case, I may quickly be one of their top fans soon. Colour Haze are the first group I’ve heard that seamlessly marries the classic Krautrock of early Guru Guru and Ash Ra Tempel with the modern stoner bands of Kyuss and High On Fire. At its core, they’re a modern metal band, with the sludgy over-amplified psychedelic tone, and low key indie vocal style (and they’re sparse at that). Where Colour Haze create separation is in the way the songs develop, more organic than the usual play for dynamic shock value. The drumming is more old-school too, with plenty of tribal pounding and jazz fills, verse the standard double bass blasts and straight forward beats. Then there’s the guitar. It’s the soloing that truly recalls the greats from the day – where you want to break out the air guitar and play right along with the band. This is especially true on the instrumental title track, where the group locks into one of the more memorable grooves I’ve heard in a long while. Last two tracks “Ozean” and “Stratofarm” take the mellow zone out approach – highly effective - until the last few minutes where Colour Haze provides a true climax from the built up tension. Nice to see a stoner band live up to the psychedelic part of its intended meaning.
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