Black Rainbows, Stellar Prophecy: Electrified Among the Stars (Plus Full Album Stream)

black rainbows stellar prophecy

[Click play above to stream Black Rainbows’ Stellar Prophecy in full. Album is out April 15 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

With each new release, Roman outfit Black Rainbows continue to push themselves further and further into new ground between heavy psychedelia and fuzz rock. Each offering has been a marked step forward from the last. With Stellar Prophecy, their fifth LP — second through guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori‘s Heavy Psych Sounds imprint — they have clearly figured out their sonic intent, but they brush past last year’s Hawkdope (review here) in terms of refining their melting pot of heavy ’70s vibes, lysergic space worship, and forward-driving fuzz.

It’s been nine years since they issued their 2007 debut, Twilight of the Desert (on Longfellow Deeds), and the strides they’ve made sonically and in their ambassadorship of bringing heavy rock to the people of Italy and bringing Italian heavy rock to the wider European scene, both on tour and in Fiori‘s work with the label, is simply unmatched. Through 2010’s Carmina Diabolo and 2012’s double-exclamatory Supermothafuzzalicious!! (review here), Black Rainbows have demonstrated admirable creative will and energy, as well as a near-unmatched work ethic that shows itself in everything they do, including the quick turnaround between Hawkdope and this new collection. Stellar Prophecy comprises seven tracks and just under 44 vinyl-ready minutes of what has particularly over the last four years become their brand of upbeat, full-thrust heavy psych rock, still working from root influences like Nebula and Hawkwind, but having long since developed their own attitude and take on those influences.

Not only this, but with just about a year — and one in which Fiori also issued the Detroit (review here) debut from side-project Killer Boogie — between Stellar Prophecy and Hawkdope before it, Black Rainbows have still managed to produce a substantial progression in their sound. Fiori and drummer Alberto Croce (who joined after Supermothafuzzalicious!!) recently welcomed bassist Giuseppe Guglielmino into the lineup, but to the best of my knowledge it’s still Dario Iocca (who also joined after Supermothafuzzalicious!!) whose warm tone underscores the cosmic push of opener “Electrify.” Each side of Stellar Prophecy launches with a ripper — “Electrify” and “Evil Snake” — and works from shortest to longest in making its way toward an extended, languid finale, whether that’s side A’s album highlight “Golden Widow” (11:37) or its side B companion, “The Travel” (9:28).

black rainbows stellar prophecy limited edition cover

These two distinct modes of songwriting, with shorter, faster cuts and slower, longer ones, might seem like setup for a hard contrast to reconcile, but the truth of the matter is that in whatever method they’re employing, Black Rainbows are so fluid that it doesn’t feel like much of a twist at all, and on side A, the bluesy swing of and catchy hook of “Woman” provides transition between that half of the album’s opener and closer in addition to being a standout on its own, so any way you want to look at it, it works. Plus, Fiori‘s vocals and liberal use of effects throughout the material tie the various sides of Black Rainbows‘ sound together so that when the opening bassline of “Golden Widow” arrives, soon joined by organ, samples and guitar in liquefied space revelry akin to former split-mates Naam, it is perhaps even more serene in its execution, jamming in a build structure before receding only to rise again, this time topping the song’s acid triumph with a furious guitar solo and swirling Echoplex or other looped noise.

Somewhat tucked away at the end of the album, “The Travel” will soon-enough echo that jamming-on-the-edge-of-time vibe and find Black Rainbows taking full advantage of the opportunity to ride off into the psychedelic sunset, but before they do, they toss out three banger hooks in “Evil Snake,” “It’s Time to Die” and “Keep the Secret,” skillfully bringing Stellar Prophecy back to its starting point with “Evil Snake”‘s faster pace and memorable chorus. That track is probably as close to bare-bones as they get this time out, but even in its 3:30, they find room for a bass and drum-led jam meshed with psychedelic noise and a solo over the swinging finish. Both “It’s Time to Die” and the cowbell-laden “Keep the Secret” follow suit ultimately, but the latter especially has a more open feel to its chorus, with Fiori‘s vocals pushed farther back, and an overall looser feel. Not only does it work for its position in the shortest-to-longest-on-each-side scheme — using its extra two minutes as compared to “Evil Snake” for a graceful, organ-inclusive jam — but it also works to set up the return to zero gravity with its peaceful and tripped-out ending, Black Rainbows working in a bit of hypnosis before the alternate universe kicks back in with the gradual unfolding of “The Travel.”

The song does solidify somewhat, if momentarily, after the halfway point, after the vast soundscape of its verses has given way to louder and more forward directionality, but it doesn’t last and “The Travel” is all the richer for that. Falling back to the open space of the verse, they build up again slowly on a final march of drum thud and heavy strum, but the volume seems to work on a doppler effect, and as the stomping goes by, the track fades its way out. That last detail is emblematic of the nuance at work under the outward thrust of Stellar Prophecy, which provides Black Rainbows with the realization of the ideas that Hawkdope put forth and further defines their place in the sphere of current heavy psychedelia. Propelled by songwriting and a vitality that bleeds into fast and slow songs that few can match, that position is becoming ever closer to the fore, and thought they’ve had their share of lineup changes, the central mission of Black Rainbows seems to remain the same in terms of ongoing progression and diffusion of influences into something original and individualized. To be blunt about it, Stellar Prophecy is the most accomplished Black Rainbows yet. As they continue to mature, their work only becomes more and more satisfying.

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One Response to “Black Rainbows, Stellar Prophecy: Electrified Among the Stars (Plus Full Album Stream)”

  1. […] disponibilizado através da theobelisk o novo álbum para os Italianos Black Rainbows. A banda divulga assim o seu novo registo, depois […]

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