The beautiful thing about the Stoner Rock and adjacent scenes is the reverence for musicians who have come before.
And although it seems like everyone is trying to reinvent the magic within Black Sabbath by trying to recreate Black Sabbath’s sound, you’ll occasionally find those who are more intent on honoring the obscure bands of the influential 1960s and 1970s.
That’s where Lord Velvet comes in. Armed with a knack for melody and a passion for bands like The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (known for their one-hit wonder, “Fire”), Lord Velvet has created an exhilarating debut album in Astral Lady.
About Lord Velvet
Lord Velvet is a Denver band that formed in 2022 and immediately began drawing inspiration from the ‘70s guitar exploration of bands like Atomic Rooster, Mountain, and Sir Baltimore, as well as the soaring vocals of Arthur Brown and Pagan Altar.
Lord Velvet is:
- Taylor Webb – Vocals
- Scoot Scott – Guitar
- Matt Funk – Bass
- Mike Barnes – Drums
Lord Velvet’s Astral Lady Album Review
Release Date: September 1, 2023
Label: Electric Talon Records
Track 1: Lament of Lo
“Lament of Lo” takes its time getting the album started, relying on a combo of acoustic and electric guitar to propel the song forward. Eventually, the instruments and vocals synch for one powerful moment—which leads us into a big, fuzzy chorus.
This is a steady rocker with just enough emotional weight. And while it’s not the best song on the album, you’ll have a tough time skipping it—this is a killer track with some interesting tones to soak in.
Track 2: Snakebite Fever
“Snakebite Fever” launches with a rush of fuzzy riffage, making the song a ton of fun (despite the name). On this track, we hear close nods to Ozzy Osborne’s unique vocal delivery as the band bounces up and down with the fun of the track.
Of course, it’s hard to hear this song without falling prey to that infectious earworm: “Dance with the demon in the dark!”
Pay close attention to the guitar solo: Although this is a Stoner Rock-infused Proto Metal track, you’ll hear a quick moment of Tom Morello in the guitar solo!
Track 3: Night Terrors
There’s plenty to love in “Night Terrors.” Taylor Webb is still channeling his inner Ozzy, but now the rest of the band is laying down big, dirty, Doom-inspired riffs. And while there are moments of Black Sabbath, the cool lead guitar tones keep us closer to the Proto Metal and Prog Metal territories—at first.
As the song gets heavier and gloomier, we continue to uncover intense vocals with intense lyrics. For example:
Hands of decaying flesh
Rake across my chest
Inscribing arcane sigils they steal my breath
Eventually, we hear the slightest dashes of Psychedelic/Space Rock sprinkled in, but these are temporary; “Night Terrors” thrives best as the song slows down into its terrifying conclusion.
Track 4: From The Deep
“From the Deep” carries the Doom and gloom we discovered in “Night Terrors.” And although it takes a minute to find its footing, it eventually transforms into a strong track.
Track 5: Black Beam of Gemini
“Black Beam of Gemini” is fun right out of the gate (despite the subject matter within the lyrics), similar to “Snakebite Fever.” Webb’s vocals are strong and rhythmic, soaring over the track’s urgent instrumentation, which makes this is another taut rocker perfect for your next road trip.
Final Score: 8/10
Standout Tracks: “Snakebite Fever” and “From the Deep”
Pros: I regularly gripe about albums that stretch on for too long, especially albums where it’s obvious the band added in a couple of filler tracks to reach a certain length.
That’s definitely not the case here. With a runtime of under 29 minutes, Lord Velvet has given us a succinct experience marked by a dash of exploration and experimentation. Each song has weight and value, and that makes for a stronger overall record.
Similarly, each song has a slightly different flavor, meaning you’ll get a unique vibe on each track.
Cons: Lord Velvet’s strongest moments are in experimentation, but so much of the experimentation in Astral Lady (usually slipped somewhere around a guitar solo) is cut short.
Astral Lady is perfectly fine for what it is, but diving more into the unique sounds the band has discovered could have make this in incredibly fun and unpredictable record—perhaps with enough strength to gallop its way to the top of the Doom Charts (though it’s still early in the month).
Still, Astral Lady is an enjoyable record, and I’m excited to hear what they do next!