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Colour Haze — Sacred
(Elektrohasch EH013, 2022, CD / LP / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-12-23

Sacred Cover art

It’s been a good three or four years since we’ve heard a new studio album from these German masters of heavy tripped-out stoner rock. Apparently this is their fourteenth studio album, and there have been some changes in the lineup since their last studio album, We Are. Longtime bassist Philipp Rasthofer is out, now replaced by the band’s former sound engineer Mario Oberpucher, added to the longtime core of drummer Manfred Merwald and guitarist / singer Stefan Koglek. Willi Demmaier now covers the sound engineer duties, while Jan Faszbender is credited with synthesizers, organ, and electric piano (although he seems to be buried deep in the mix most of the time) and Julia Rutigliano is credited with backing vocals on the closing track “In All You Are.” I guess with Faszbender being listed as a band member, that makes Colour Haze a quartet (he was listed as a guest on previous albums) for the first time. Rasthofer is a solid and supportive bassist, and the songs are well developed musically, though I still can’t understand the lyrics most of the time (although they are printed in the CD booklet). It seems like over the top fuzz and distortion is applied to just about everything — guitars, bass, drums, vocals, the entire mix seems to be distorted more than ever before, leaving one wishing that more detail could be heard under all the heavy fuzz — these are all excellent players, that much is evident (though the keyboards seem to be out of the distortion loop). Occasionally one can hear faint hints of The Jimi Hendrix Experience or classic Cream circa Disraeli Gears, but there’s never enough clarity. Yes, I understand this is ‘Stoner Rock’ but things could certainly sound much better if more detail could be heard, rather than ‘as heard through a pillow,’ Enough said about that, your mileage may vary, but with Sacred I’m having trouble getting excited about music that I can’t really hear clearly.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Colour Haze

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