When we first covered Deer Lord back in October, it was to highlight the Witches Brew/Psychedelic Roadkill EP—a gleaming example of the northern California band’s patented Psychedelic Doom ‘n’ Roll.
At the time, their full release seemed like light-years away.
But now it’s here. Dark Matter Pt. 1 is out, and it channels the brilliance of the Witches Brew/Psychedelic Roadkill EP and beefs up its ambitions across six glistening tracks.
About Deer Lord
Deer Lord was formed in 2019, and it’s a three-piece that includes:
Sheafer McOmber – Guitar/Vocals
Jared Marill – Bass
Ryan Alderman – Drums
The band’s first release was their 2020 self-titled EP, a six-pack of their high-energy Doom ‘n’ Roll that channeled the energy of Monster Magnet with the heaviness of Kyuss—and wrapped it all in Psychedelic fuzz.
Dark Matter Pt. 1 Album Review
Release Date: February 3, 2023
Track 1: Witches Brew
Although “Witches Brew” is the longest track on the album, much of its length comes from its unsettling ethereal effects that mark the first minute and a half of the song. But when the music finally comes in, it’s a low, Doom-inspired rumble reminiscent of early Black Sabbath.
And when Sheafer McOmber’s vocals finally enter, they’re distant—cutting through the fog on their own plume of smoke.
As heavy as the first half of “Witches Brew” is, the second half is blistering Doom ‘n’ Roll fun—and it even packs a cowbell punch.
Originally released on Halloween, “Witches Brew” tells the story of a wanderer in the mountains who comes under the spell of a witch after kissing her LSD-covered lips. Check it out:
Track 2: Psychedelic Roadkill
“Psychedelic Roadkill” is Deer Lord at their most Doom ‘n’ Roll. The track is a fuzzy wave of heavy riffs, drum rolls, and fun. And with those distant, reverberating vocals, you may also be reminded of singer Sheafer McOmber’s solo project—Bloodshot Buffalo.
Like “Witches Brew,” “Psychedelic Roadkill” is inspired by B-movies. This track tells the horrific story of a motorcycle crash at high speeds while on heavy psychedelic drugs.
Track 3: Hippie Girl
“Hippie Girl” kicks off like a dark Desert Rock track—much like an early Queens of the Stone Age song. With a thick, steady riff you could cut with a chainsaw, “Hippie Girl” eventually evolves into a fun and heavy Stoner Rock jam worth jumping up and down to.
Track 4: Ride Away
Slightly more polished than “Hippie Girl,” “Ride Away” features the gleam of Psychedelic Space Rock.
The second half of “Ride Away” is, perhaps, the most interesting point in the entire album. With a massive breakdown that feels like the track is falling from the sky, this is one track you’ll definitely want to re-listen to just for the experience!
Track 5: Ego
“Ego” delivers a mad rush of riffs, drums, and vocals, like a breathless experience of Punk Rock madness. After that introduction, you’ll hear Motörhead or Bad Religion—with a Space Rock overlay.
Track 6: Planet Earth
“Planet Earth” kicks off with a drum solo, but when the rest of the band finally joins in, the song transforms into a fun, exciting Space Rock track. As the final track on Part 1, “Planet Earth” also concludes with the best solo on the album.
Final Thoughts on Deer Lord’s Dark Matter Pt. 1
Final Score: 8.5/10
Standout Tracks: “Psychedelic Roadkill” and “Hippie Girl”
Pros: Deer Lord’s Psychedelic Doom ‘n’ Roll is a refreshing take on a scene in need of innovation. With their distinctive wall of sound, massive fuzz, and intoxicating riffs, the Deer Lord trio consistently writes fun but heavy tracks worth partying to.
But none of that is to suggest the band is a gimmick. Deer Lord has done what so many bands struggle to do by their first album release: They’ve solidified their sound—and that sound is awesome.
If the fun, exciting tunes of Dark Matter Pt. 1 are any indication, Part 2 should be just as strong!
Cons: Dark Matter Pt. 1 is wave after wave of groovy fuzz, but audiophiles may complain about the mix. The vocals, which have a delicious amount of reverb, are placed far back, and the drums aren’t quite as powerful as you’d probably like (which is something we also addressed in the Witches Brew/Psychedelic Roadkill EP review.
The result, though, is infectious. Instead, Dark Matter Pt. 1 is a catchy album with a distinct haze of fuzz that covers the entire album in a singular sonic texture for maximum cohesion.