Album Review: Sundrifter – Visitations

Boston based Sundrifter released their second record, Visitations, in October 2018 via Small Stone, engineered and mixed by Dan Schwartz at Futura Productions in Massachusetts. These desert rockers are Craig Peura (vocals and guitar), Patrick Queenan (drums) and Paul Gaughran (bass). Together they blend their influences of Radiohead, Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Soundgarden and Queens of the Stoneage. Already these influences has whetted this appetite of mine. Will it be a wet day in the desert or an appetite for destruction?

Visitations opens with “Sons of Belial”, about the fall of the lost continent Atlantis. There’s no mention of Aquaman but it does give us a huge dollop of euphoric recall, with honourable nods to grunge rock maestros Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.

The build-up by Queenan and Gaughran on “Death March” and “Lightworker” gets the blood pumping, ready to feel or anticipate something devilish. With Peura’s vocals similar in style to those of Chris ‘the voice” Cornell (more so on “Death March”), the record is full of stoner and rock hard swagger. As Visitations growls on, it gets deeper and darker…

With some Josh Homme brashness and a sprinkle of The Doors, “Targeted” has me by the short and curlies and grabbed me like a surprise Christmas present. I didn’t expect to hear this style of track given what the previous tunes were about, but along with a fuzzy riff in “Hammerburn”, these guys evidence a rather smooth groove full of panache.

Craig Peura’s vocal range changes altitude, moving from grunge and heading towards stoner rock. Add his riffs to the heavy drums and brain fogged bass, especially on“Fire in the Sky” with its dark edge, and you have a perfect soundtrack to a B-movie horror, where the sinister vicar begins to bleed from his eyes.

Finishing with the melodic “I Want to Leave”, Sundrifter showcase Peura’s incredible vocal range alongside the band’s desert rock characteristics. The song fills the room with harmonies of impending doom.

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