Review Summary: Just beyond the burning sands of the horizon rests the holy Tempel
Colour Haze treks miles away from any remote sense of identification, or at the very least their musical contemporaries. They stand comfortably beyond their own footsteps which lay strewn across untamed heavy psychedelic music; and yet they still act as though their journey has only just begun. Numerous albums in their discography show tracks of where they’ve been in the sands of time, each one a small gem for any traveler daring enough to follow. Brushing the landscapes paved by all ends of the spectrum, their very own Tempel
rests half buried amongst these same dunes, providing sanctuary from some of the harsher failings of stoner rock for both fans old and new alike. No matter how experienced you are in exploring the psychedelic and stoner rock world, this album could be your very own archeological-goldmine.
is arguably their most subdued and streamlined effort, not bothering to launch itself into forced experimentation. Yet this isn’t a sign of laziness or an attempt of mainstream charting, but instead an obvious sign of maturity. Colour Haze can rightfully say they know their own sound more than most bands do, and have fully exploited this knowledge for their betterment. Everything on this record sounds like their own material, undeniable workings of these German kings. This doesn’t mean that there is a lack of any defining moments for the band, because that clearly is not the case. Opening track “Aquamaria” showcases the band in full swing (but to be fair, so do most of their songs). An emerging bassline provides a solid foundation for a subtle guitar that follows closely, providing a hazy mirage of what might be in store. It soon becomes obvious that this is only the tip of the iceberg, as the drums manage their way into the mix. Each and every tap of symbol or pounding of skin follows suite to the melody of the strings, giving each meter shift a stronger foothold in its progression forward. The song continues a roughly similar rhythm while adding humming vocals with a voice that could not be better fit, and amping the guitar to a distortion rivaling the earliest workings of the genre. Before you know it, Colour Haze erupts into a sandstorm of power that engulfs the senses.
Each song builds upon what the opener accomplished so effortlessly. The meat of the record is the consistent fuzz of the skilled guitarist, who successfully weaves his distorted visions amongst the plodding and beyond groovy basslines. Each song follows a clear structure, condensed into mid-length pieces of sheer gold. As dynamic as they are, a song never drags on even upon the first listen, with the band successfully putting to rest any idea before it even begins to grow distasteful. You won’t find a collection of riffs strung together, but instead a clear evolution of ideas borrowing upon similar rhythms. If a cool riff is dug up on Tempel
, it’s usually the backbone to its entire song. One of the interesting aspects of the record is found in its production. Often times an album can architect a perfect symphony only to find the most cherished parts buried amongst poor mixing or drowned out by a stronger instrument. Here, each and every chord of the guitar, pounding of the drum, or even the drifting of the vocals (which intentionally sit in the backseat) makes the exact sound the band wants them to make. Tempel
finds that perfect middle ground between silky smooth quality and fuzzy distortion that stoner rock should always aim for, something that seemed to be a kept secret amongst pioneers Kyuss and to a lesser extent, Sleep.
So while Colour Haze has made an impeccable journey across the heaviest of psychedelic music, they haven’t forgotten their true derivative. They may stick to the prehistoric and raw riffage of their instruments and ignore the use of flashy synthesizers to trip out their listeners, but sprinkled across the mountains of sand and sludge is obvious homage to Colour Haze’s krautrock roots. The softer moments of the album still show off a band at the forefront of their musical chops, often times dabbling in blues and even jazz influence. You won’t feel exhausted halfway through by the roar of the guitar and unrelenting vocals (I’m looking at you, Dopesmoker) because that isn’t what this record is about. Instead Tempel
is an integral piece that flows as effortlessly as the sand it sits upon.