Review: Mothership ‘II’
From the very first track – the beautifully spaced-out and fully instrumental “Celestial Prophet” – I had a feeling that I was being taken on a mind-tripping, mind-ripping ride into an alternate universe. Turns out I was right. And that dark, shimmery track is the perfect way to get into “supersonic intergalactic heavy rock trio” Mothership’s second release II.
This Texas band has come up with a heavier, dirtier, and more far-out follow-up to 2013’s excellent self-titled debut album. There are tasty, crunchy, bone-jarring riffs galore, and plenty of wicked swing and swagger as Mothership dives head-first into the blissfully trippy, heavy rocking depths of hard rock, and what might also be called “heavy-as-ancient-dinosaur-bones” rock.
To be clear: II is an album that deserves to be enjoyed as a full, 11-track ride. Just hit play and enjoy this one from start to finish.
After the almost gentle vibe of “Celestial Prophet”, the band really rides into orbit with the crashing drums and rugged riffs of “Priestess of the Moon” (a favourite of mine), and then immediately tweak things up with the darkly funny “Shanghai Surprise” – a track that feels a bit like a rock’n’roll film-noir.
Mothership unleashes track after track of heavy, yet exquisitely layered hard rock that flashes and thunders with blues and psychedelia, powered by the kind of bass-lines and drums that makes your ribs rattle. A prime example is the bone-rumbling “Holy Massacre” – deep and dark and sweet as hell with its mesmerizing chanted vocals.
“Centauromachy” is hefty enough to crush the breath out of you – all glorious chaos and borderline divine destruction. And then there’s the speed and roar and heat of “Hot Smoke And Heavy Blues” with the guitars revving and raging, and then just flying off into some amazing and space-soaring awesomeness that makes it one of the best tracks here.
The album’s highlight might just be the seriously trippy “Tamu Massif” – an audacious track that is quite simply a masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. It starts out subtly as a psychedelic rock dreamscape – swirling and rippling with guitars and drums – slowly working itself up into a crescendo, anchored by the rhythm-section’s infinitely deep roots. It’s a brilliant track in every way.
“Astromancer” comes on massive and roaring with doom – it’s also heavier than your average mountain range – and with a wicked Black Sabbath vibe stitched into the musical fabric; while “Serpents Throne” is another mind-twister of rock’n’roll trippiness. The final two tracks don’t disappoint either: “Eye of Sphinx” is one heck of a shiny space-time ripper, and “Good Morning Little School Girl” rocks out with awesome swagger and a cheeky ZZ-top vibe.
There’s nothing more to say, except that this album is stunning. It’s definitely one of my favourite musical trips of 2014.
Mothership: official website / Facebook / Twitter
- Celestial Prophet
- Priestess Of The Moon
- Shanghai Surprise
- Holy Massacre
- Hot Smoke And Heavy Blues
- Tamu Massif
- Serpents Throne
- Eye of Sphinx
- Good Morning Little School Girl
- Kelley Juett- Guitars/Vox
- Kyle Juett- Bass/Vox
- Judge Smith- Drums
Maria Haskins’ Real Rock And Roll: Website / Twitter
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