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Blaak Heat Shujaa – The Edge of an Era


Some people like to take risks. And by the way, they are lucky in life. Imagine an unknown stoner rock band from Paris, which suddenly suddenly goes to Los Angeles to record their debut album.

And he stays there, in the cradle of stoner rock, permanently, and the album is produced by their musical hero and inspiration. A few years ago it happened to the group Blaak Heat Shujaa, and the producer in question is Scott Reeder, bass player of the late Kyuss, but also Goatsnake, The Obsessed and Unidy. This year, already under the wings of Tee Pee Records, the cooperation resulted in another album, The Edge of an Era.

The album is a continuation of the EP The Storm Generation from six months ago. The material for both releases was created at the same time and you can clearly hear that the band chose what is the most coherent and left for the album, and used the less suitable rest earlier. The tracks on the EP and on the new album are on the same level and in the same style – but The Edge of an Era is more even and compact than its predecessor. Listening to The Edge of an Era , it's no wonder that the band stayed in California. Inspirations from the Mojave Desert or the Pacific coast are all too audible. Lazy psychedelia straight from the sixties dominates, appropriately modernized and played on heavily distorted guitars.

You can hear in Blaak Heat Shujaa fascination with stoner trips Kyussa or Yawning Man. At times (in Pelham Blue or Land of Freaks, Home of the Brave) the guitar takes on an intense reverb, referring to the sound of surf rock. You can also feel the inspiration of the work of Al Cisneros (also from California, incidentally), especially the later one, with the group Om. On the one hand, thanks to dispassionate, withdrawn but also mystical, quasi-religious vocals, on the other – frequent oriental trips (The Obscurantist Fiend; Land of Freaks, Home of the Brave).

There are also interesting guests on the album. The intro, Closing Time, Last Exit, is read by poet Ron Whitehead. When he utters the final words, "America is an illusion", we already know that in a second a powerful riff will be cooing. And so it is, despite the fact that in the context of the whole album it is a slight mistake. In Pelham Blue there is another character from the circle of stoner classics – sings Mario Lalli, known Yawning Man and Fatso Jetson. This song could easily hit the albums of these bands.

In addition, we have a simple, three-person line-up playing music far more complicated than you might expect. Throughout the album you can hear the progressive jam, either when the band starts to combine with the rhythm, or when it jerks the pace, suddenly jumping from calm, relaxing fragments to an obsessive rush with a distinct riff, sometimes with strong, tribal drums. Such breaks can be found, for example, in the two-part composition The Beast (The Obscurantist Fiend and Shadows) or in the middle of the Society of Barricades. The game of contrasts can be associated with their French brethren from the stoner rock Glowsun.

A good, addictive album on which countless inspirations are juxtaposed in an original way and serve an innovative style.

Blaak Heat Shujaa

The Edge of an Era

Tee Pee Records, 2013

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