If you’re a fan of the 60s 70s psychedelic rock scene then without a doubt you will appreciate Dr. Haze and the Wise Lizardz and their new album And Beyond. Personally, I must be in a certain frame of mind to properly enjoy and appreciate psychedelic/stoner rock bands, such as Pink Floyd or The Grateful Dead. However, they have given a much more fresh sound to the genre while also keeping some retro styles in their music. As more of a metalhead/thrasher/punk fan it can be hard to slow down and really enjoy a slower mellow rock song. However, this album managed to get me to that place.
And Beyond took around four or five whole listens for more to figure out how I feel about it. It grows on you over time. At first it seemed a bit too otherworldly but after the third time listening to it, it started to resonate with me.
One of the highlights from this album is the song “Fire Lizard”, which has a very strong Hendrix vibe. A strong statement I know, but for some reason his music was what came to mind listening to this. It has great little nuances that really bring the song up a level such as keyboard notes throughout that create a nice atmosphere and ambience. The fuzzy guitar tone in this song, and throughout the album, really drives things to a hard rock level at times, but still fitting the stoner rock genre. Lyrically “Fire Lizard” is open to interpretation, the monologue that takes places mid-way through at first gave me the sense that the “Fire Lizard” is supposed to be God. Or perhaps it is a psychedelic substance showing someone the light, either way it is pretty “out there”!
Another song that really stood out to me was “Bridge of Light”. Again, the fuzzy guitar tone was great and the riffs were good. However, what really stands out is the experimental use of different instruments such as what believe to be a sitar. The outro guitar solo gives a cool space rock vibe putting you in an almost hypnotic state. A common feature of this album, that I noticed right from the first listen, was its use of melodic guitars notes and sounds. It really drives home this sense of nostalgia and calmness. It takes a certain kind of song to get me to that place.
Some parts of this album that didn’t click with me were the times the keyboards sounded like they were from an 80s sci-fi movie soundtrack, specifically on the songs “The Path” and the closing section of “The Temple”. They really stood out to me and were a bit distracting because all I could imagine was Flash Gordon or the intro music to Scarface. In their defence, the band may have been aiming for that sound, but for me it sounded a bit cliché. Perhaps it will grow on me over time.
Also, I never grew to like the opening song “Snow“. It just didn’t grab my attention or generate any excitement from me. At first this had me a bit worried for the rest of the album. An opening song to an album should grab you straight away. But then again, I may be showing the metal head in me, as someone who is used to having “Hit the Lights” by Metallica or “Wake Up Dead” by Megadeth open an album up it was quite a change of pace.
As an outsider to the genre, I may not be in best position to give judgement. However going from my own personal feeling, I would say that it is a solid piece of work. It’s a cool and trippy album. Even as someone who only dabbles in stoner rock and may not fully understand the depths of the genre, I can safely say that this is a good album with a wide range of cool and experimental sounds. It even shows a slight hard rock/ heavy metal edge to it at times which is probably one of the reasons it resonated with me.
And Beyond is released on 13th November