Sunday, 30 December 2012

Palace In Thunderland - Stars, Dreams, Seas (album review)

Palace in Thunderland started out life as Skyball, the main band of four young musicians.  Skyball was a garage rock band that morphed into Palace in Thunderland in 1998.  The band recorded a couple of EPs and an album that was never released and in 2007 the guys in the band decided to call it quits.

Each of the four musicians went on to form other, more successful, bands.  They are Monte Newman (Hydro-Electric, guitar); Andy Beresky (Black Pyramid, guitar); Adam Abrams and Matt Netto (Blue Aside, bass and drums respectively, (Abrams is also in Space Mushroom Fuzz)).  Now, they have returned from travels that must have included stops in spaceports unknown and re-formed a high school garage band as a stoner rock supergroup.  Four youngsters who split, return as conquering heroes.  There's seemingly no shortage of musical talent in the New England area and so, it was destined to be.

The three songs on this demo EP are the first new sounds from this collective band of musicians together in over five years.

"Beyond the Stars" shakes off the rust with a Sabbath-like riff and crash combo that launches the goodship Thunderland out of orbit.  The slabs of Sabbath-ized riffage and chunks of crunching rhythms perfectly frame the super catchy chorus, "Come ... with ... us ... Beyond the Stars!".  "Awakened Dream" carries on the Sabbath feel and doesn't have as memorable a chorus, but makes up for it with more of a melodic flavor..  "The Distant Shore" is a different beast altogether and if I had to guess I would hazard that this is more of a Monte Newman song, which then breaks down towards the end into an Andy Beresky flavored melancholic riff to close out the short, 16 minute demo EP.

It's interesting to be able to hear each individual's unique contribution to the band, it truly is an amalgamation of sounds.  You can hear a Beresky lead, you can hear the power of Monte Newman, you can hear Blue Aside's unique rhythm section at work on the groove.  The vocals are in the Ozzy sound-alike vein which really comes across in "Awakened Dream".  The Sabbath feel is very present overall in the first two tracks, not just in the vocals and guitars but also in the Bill Wardian drumming of Matt Netto.  It seems as though Beresky provides the bulk of the vocals on this disc, though not in the way that most listeners familiar with his work in Black Pyramid would recognize, as they are sung melodically rather than shouted, though it can be hard to tell who is singing as all four are credited with vocals, and it could just as easily be Abrams or Newman singing for all I know.

Though this teaser of what's to come consists of a mere three songs and 16 minutes, it's a satisfying listening experience in and of itself, and it carries within it the seeds of a very substantial release when a full length album eventually emerges.

Highlights include: "Beyond the Stars" and "Awakened Dream"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 16:48

From: Springfield, Massachusetts

Genre: Space Rock, Stoner, Psychedelic

Reminds me of: Black Pyramid, Black Sabbath, Blue Aside, Hydro-Electric, Lord Vicar, Space Mushroom Fuzz

Release Date: December 22, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Solidify these sounds into a cosmic surfboard to hold court with shimmering luminescent being of pure dream-state given substance.

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  1. Actually Monte wrote most of the main riffs for the first two songs, and Andy wrote most of "The Distant Shore."

  2. Thanks for the clarification!


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