Pharaoh Overlord - Lunar Jetman [Ektro Records - 2012]“Lunar Jetman” finds this Circle side project offering up six lengthy tracks of locked groove music that learns towards more metallic waters, though there are a few other genre traits present here too.
For those not in the know Circle are a highly prolific Finish band who create circular often kraut-rock influenced sonic fare that more often not has quite a multi genre edge to it. Pharaoh Overlord are an off-shoot from Circle, and they focus in on mainly more metallic, stoner, or space rock vibe….through they have also wondered towards free form jazz too. “Lunar Jetman” is the projects 10th release, and it originally appeared in early 2012 in a ltd double vinyl form, the edition I’m reviewing is the CD reissue.
The release opens with the just under 11 minutes of “Rodent”, and this finds the band slowing down a Iron Maiden sounding metallic gallop, mixing in kraut-rock locked drum groove & layering in shoegazy like guitar textures. Track two is entitled “Palmyra Cali”, and it’ a bass dominant mixture of light space rock simmer & grooved kraut rock pulse.
Track three “Cardinal" is the shortest of the six tracks here at just over the four minute mark. It finds the band offering up a rising, hazy & warming mixture of ambient space rock textures & mellowed jazz rock.
Next up is the just under seventeen minutes of “Black Horse”. This opens with a dusty ‘n’ wondering blues spacerock jam thats fed over a pounding 'n' shifting drum solo pattern. Then just before the five minute mark we kick in with an up-beat stoner rock riff that’s locked into krautrock groove. As the track progresses the band add on nice ‘n’ effective keyboard simmers, extra guitar detail, controlled organ freak-outs, and a great feeling of building momentum. In it’s last few minutes the drums skilfully fade back to minimal leaving just the throbbing bass flickers, atmospheric textural guitar & percussion darts. I think this is one of my highlights here as it nicely builds, then recedes and it keeps one attention through-out.
Lastly we have the bizarrely name “Cave Of Hair”, which is the longest track here at the 29.25 mark. To start with this track is built around with slow & semi building stew of:taut & fairly complex bass textures. And subdued guitar textures-which take in stripped back mettlics chugs, blues licks & space rock darts. Here & there you get stabs of jazz rock organ pulse, spacey synth drifts & wondering percussion detail too. Over the next 10 or so minutes the track sort of drifts ‘n’ darts along with things building then receding again. It’s not until around the 15 minute mark that a more constant though still flitting metallic guitar chug starts to stay in place, but the rest of the instrumental textures & percussive elements still stay quite lose & freeform. It’s only around the 26th minute that the prime evil riff & metallic power starts to subtle kick into a groove, and these are added to by great atmospheric synth stabs, and more layers of moody soloing guitar texture….but just when it feels like it should really kick in big time the track ends. On the whole the tracks very well played, like the rest of the album, but for me it just takes too long noodling & building, and not enough time giving the listener the powerful metallic punch.
All told “Lunar Jetman” is an effective enough slice of locked grooved mettlics that weaves in elements of space rock, jazz & blues texturing. I just found a lot of the tracks seemed to be more about building momentum & jamming-out, than rocking into the head banging or even head swaging mood…but I guess that’s maybe the albums point. Not one for those new to the church of all things Circle related, but if your more of a seasoned follower I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of this. Roger Batty