Monday, 29 April 2013

Miss Lava - Red Supergiant (album review)

Cover artwork by Jose Mendes for Maga-Atelier
Miss Lava came under the intense scrutiny of Paranoid Hitsophrenic's gaze when they signed a deal with Small Stone Records to release this very album later on in the year.  The label's other three recent signees were all familiar faces here: Gandhi's Gunn (now Isaak), The Socks and It's Not Night: It's Space.  Who were these Miss Lava guys anyway?  I immediately set to find out.

Miss Lava blast onto the scene with high-powered album opener "Desert Mind", setting a high standard for action-packed rip-roaring rock n roll which doesn't flag or waver.  11 tracks and 42 minutes long, the band gets in, gets the money and enters the idling getaway car without ever once stumbling, never overstaying their welcome despite the same-iness of the compositions overall.  It's not that the band recycles riffs or the songs all sound alike, but once that petal is on the floor, they don't bother very often to mix in different tempos or feels.  It's like going down a steep hill in a shopping cart, no brakes on this ride, baby!

Actually, there are three songs that momentarily tap the brake on this bad boy, two songs which can be considered the band's midtempo material and one slow one, breaking up the nearly relentless flow of the album.  "Hole To China" which still rocks much ass despite being one of the slower cuts on the record and "Ride".  Already a massive hit in the Doom Charts, it's a slow hammer of groove, matched nowhere else on this fine record than perhaps "Yesterday's Gone".  A streamlined machine of fuzz guitar, clean drums and vocals and thumping bass.  The album closes with the title song which is probably the slowest one.  At 4:29 it's also the second longest track on the record.  See how they get the money and run?

As I alluded to earlier, Small Stone will be releasing a re-mixed, re-mastered version of the album this summer.  It's a good job too because the production by bassist Sam Rebelo is a couple inches thin of the full bodied sound this band so richly deserve.  As for the version that's currently available at such online retailers as Ozium Records webshop, the CD is a truly nice package.  A die-cut cover with transparent red film opens onto a silhouetted picture of the band staring at a red sun going nova (you can make a bit of it out on the album cover photo above).  Overall it's a nice looking, and unique, package worth picking up for no other reason than the amazing music contained therein which the booklet itself implores the listener to "Play it loud and proud".  Not a problem, this may prove to be Small Stone's best release of the year, and for a year that is only a third gone and has already seen the official releases of Mother of God and Gozu's latest albums, I don't choose those words lightly.

Here's the band's self-produced video for "Ride", it was my introduction to the band and it might as well be yours.  If you do watch I guarantee you will see how much ass their rock n roll feet kick.

Highlights include: "Ride" and "Desert Mind"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 42:37

Johnny Lee - Vocals
Samuel Rebelo - Bass
J. Garcia - Drums
K. Raffah - Guitars

From: Lisbon, Portugal

Genre: Stoner, Hard Rock

Reminds me of: Clutch, Deville, The Shooters

Release Date: December 3, 2012, remixed, remastered Small Stone Records release Summer 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Get in your shopping cart and ride!

Better Review:
Sludge Factory
Sea of Tranquility

Miss Lava on facebook

Miss Lava official website

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