Review Summary: Highly familiar and entertaining record.
Today, in the sea of bands out there the hardest thing for your music is not to be heard, but to be catchy and dynamic in order to grab the ever shortening attention span of the listener. Golden Void is a really solid band coming from San Francisco and guided by Earthless' guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, these guys manage to create a short, really fun and impressive debut album.
What's great about this record is the fact that it has a familiar sound and throughout its seven tracks there are a myriad of ideas coming from different directions, together creating a really cool effort. From the cover it's somewhat clear that Golden Void
is mainly a throwback at 70s hard rock (hence the band's name coming from Hawkwind's eponymous song and hailing from one of the biggest psychedelic headquarters, San Francisco) with lots psychedelic and blues influences, all coming together under a fine analog production further pushing the songs in the era they would belong. Each member brings its own contribution and from Isaiah's great guitar and especially vocal work to Justin Pinkerton's busy drumming, the record is a tight unit masked under a loose atmosphere (this is where Earthless' mind set kicks in).
From a first listen some songs manage to stick in the mind of the listener, mainly "Shady Grove" and "Jetsun Dolma". The first is a sunny retro rocker that would have been a hit single back in the 70s, Isaiah being here at the top of his game. His melodic singing follows the guitar line and it really shows how much a voice can add to a tune. "Shady Grove"'s simplicity is the main reason the song is so beautiful and it is, hands down, one of the best songs to have been released this year in its genre. On the other hand, "Jetsun Dolma" is a laidback blues tinged jam, featuring some really cool licks that let loose, giving the bass some space to expand. The whole album has a strong foundation provided by the loud drum-bass rhythm section, leaving the guitar and the rather quiet organ to roam free whenever they desire.
Nevertheless, the rest of the songs mustn't be underestimated either. "Virtue" finds the band at its closest to Black Sabbath, featuring some stop start riffing along with lots of drum fills. Isaiah's higher pitched voice comes really close to Ozzy's, but it doesn't mean it's a rip-off, being more of a tribute. Also, the album closer "Atlantis", follows a more psychedelic path, with more melancholic, hypnotic leads and a really fitting sing-along before growing into a harder counterpart, toying with mostly the same notes. "The Curve" is another interesting track here, starting with some boogie style riffing before slowing down to a loose, quiet detour and rising back again to a thunderous finale with some wah shredding, all under five minutes. While usually Earthless goes for really long jams, Golden Void keeps everything at a more manageable length, with only one song to surpass the 6 minute mark, instantly becoming more accessible and often to a greater effect than the epic voyages.
Overall, Golden Void
is a wonderful and diverse debut. There is something here for everyone, from furious riffing to laidback jams and highlights like "Shady Grove" and "Jetsun Dolma" really prove the chemistry between the members (much like the rest of the songs here). So, for everyone interested in old school hard rock, stoner rock with psychedelic touches, Golden Void
is a lot better than the average bands that only hope to recreate the old school Sabbath and their peers' sound and not bringing anything new to the table.