OK gang, time for a history-cum-geography lesson. Stoner rock. Where in the world do you reckon it originated in? I think can hear you saying America there. Correct. In the Palm Desert of California, DIY musicians and party goers hauled generators and held all-night jam sessions until the dawn, or the authorities turned up. Now, where do you reckon the scene is best right now? Europe? Yes, arguably. Where is surprisingly good right now? It may take you a while on this one, but the answer is actually Italy. I don’t exactly know what it is, or where it’s coming from, but Italy houses an astonishing underground array of psyche, blues, sludge and stoner bands that few seem to be taking notice of, at least at the moment. But their scene is absolutely thriving right now. One last unintentionally patronising question: Where do penguins live? Somewhere cold right? Yes, and no. At least if your country’s name is Ecuador anyway. But according to a Brescia three-piece, some of the angriest or craziest of this particular diving bird species like to holiday to Europe and hone their skills as a killer rock outfit, that marries punk bravado and stoner swagger with the ceremony held in a grunge mud pool. The latter become increasingly more apparent with their whack at Nirvana’s Scentless Apprentice on brand new release Radamanthys, if course guitars drowning in enough slurry to rival the Thames Estuary and heavy enough to tenderise a kitten in a matter of seconds wasn’t an indicator. Make no mistake, their music has a ferocity about it that does live up to their namesake, a real hard strike to the solar plexus of mediocrity in every possible way. One of the hardest hitters is Grindmind, detonating in your face immediately, leaving the squeals and squawks of guitar and the battering of skins to lead you into the beast’s domain, where fiery, crunching riffs and a maddening call of torment maul even the most cautious of souls. The song title is spot on, as the soundscape scrapes away at listening capacity you have, there’s almost the theatrics of the vocalist’s sanity in decline, his delivery certainly become more erratic towards the song’s climax. Perhaps a little like a certain frontman from Seattle we know and loved. You can certainly feel the vitriol spill from every syllable uttered, and only heightens the intensity on display here. This history and geography lesson didn’t intend to delve into the depths of musical darkness, but boy do Mad Penguins deliver that. For the unsuspecting, this three-piece deliver an occasionally uncomfortably heavy rock and roll tour de force, add in the lunacy of the vocals and the brazen attempts to punt your teeth down your throat and you have a legitimately dangerous musical trio, that people should get excited about.
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