The Black Angels never fail to make you lose yourself in their heavy-duty riffs, calling on the spirit of Sabbath, Led Zep and even the motorik grooves of Can, On album number six, the hefty guitar lines are there in abundance for a free-spirited ride yet one infused with thought provoking lyrics on environmental destruction, society’s divisions and corrupt corporations, without ever feeling overwhelmingly full of despair. The Black Angels have too much rock n roll positivity in their blood for this album to be weighed down with life’s woes, they prefer to shine a light on topics within their exuberantly heavy melodies.

Opener ”Without A Trace’ has heavier than hell guitar riffs mixed with a moody yet melodic tune, which sounds like armageddon and redemption all in one four minute package of perfection. ‘Empires Falling’ finds vocalist and bassist Alex Mass singing “you can be the one who saves yourself, or you can watch it all go to hell” a rallying call to action if ever there was one. The environmental reflections continue on ‘Le Jardin’ with musings on “a gift given by the stars, you can build me up or you can rip me apart” over a stomping drumbeat and soaring guitar line, whereas ‘The River’ finds a blissful psychedelic guitar line blending into a hypnotic mantra style vocal, recalling nature’s beauty yet also name checking some of the musicians who have obviously inspired them, as they hail the genius of Roky Erickson, Arthur Lee, Velvet Underground and Syd Barrett. ‘A Walk On The Outside’ has a 60s retro kitsch appeal with its funked-up drumbeat, and overdrive guitar fuzz and is one of the catchiest earworms this lot have ever written. Moving out of the light and into darker territory, ‘Icon’ brings repeated hypnotic riffs which morph into huge attention demanding guitar lines tinged with shadowy overtones, operating in a similar expansive field to The Cult.

For the past fifteen years, along with the Reverberation Society, the band have also organised their own mind blowingly brilliant psych festival, now named Levitation, in their hometown of Austin, attracting a host of like-minded bands from The Flaming Lips to Spiritualized. It’s no surprise that The Black Angels are the guiding lights of the modern psych genre.

Call it psychedelic rock, garage rock, stoner rock, or just plain old ‘rock’, whatever the title, the effect is the same, a heady cocktail of fizzed up guitars, reverb drenched notes, Mellotron, keyboards, deep bass and pounding drums, resulting in one of the best albums you’ll hear all year.

The Black Angels – Wilderness Of Mirrors: Out Now (Partisan Records)

From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.