Three California skaters drop out, tune down and start jamming. Based on that backstory, I’m expecting some kinda cross between Earthless and The Shrine, and Arctic doesn’t totally disappoint on their debut EP.
“Over Smoked” kicks off this five-track effort, a nine-minute slow burn that gets heads nodding almost from the get-go with its heavy-psych riffs. They really do Earthless proud on this one. “Cryptic Black Sun” cuts the runtime in half and picks up the pace initially, a speedier psychedelic attack off the bat before dropping down into some nice, slow grooves, ultimately adopting a mid-paced Sabbathian march down the backstretch with a freak-out guitar solo soaring overtop.
“Burnt Ice,” another epic track over eight minutes, is even more Sabbathy in its initial stanza; I’m actually reminded of the solo from “War Pigs” about a minute and a half in. And then, just past the 2:30 mark, we hear vocals for the first time on this record. The dude’s definitely no Ozzy—he’s got more of Scott Hill’s laid-back surfer drawl, with maybe a bit too much echo. Not long after that, they pick up the pace into a galloping cascade, and turn the dial up to 10 on the distortion pedal for another spirited solo—the second of many. These cats can really wail!
OK, so this band could probably just call itself Earthless Lite, but it’s still quite good stuff.
Released May 24, 2016.