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Ecstatic Vision – For The Masses

Ecstatic Vision
For The Masses
by Dave Nowels at 19 September 2019, 11:48 AM

The city of brotherly love is home base for Philidelphia, PA's ECSTATIC VISION. Describing themselves as troglodyte rock, the band also has been referred to the “second coming of HAWKWIND”. While that might be an ambitious label, it's got some accuracy about it. “Four The Masses” is the band's fourth release, (heady cleverness in the title) and comes to us via the kick ass people over at Heavy Psych Sounds. This new release delivers 7 tracks of expansive psych jams clocking in around 36 minutes.

“Sage Wisdom” gets things started, the vision builds admist swirling keys, and tribal percussion, only to be split asunder with warning like announcements indicating that maybe, things aren't going as planned. Next, the swirling keys establish again, this time feeding into the raw guitar of “Shut Up and Drive”. Here we get our first echo/reverb layered vocals via Doug Sabolick, who here sounds vaguely like a spaced out Mark Knopfler. Sabolick and Nickles' guitars roar while Conner's bass accentuates the vision as much as anchors it. “Yuppie Sacrifice's” opening and closing paints just that visual while the meat of the song captures the experience itself.

“Like A Freak” delivers an MC5 influence that has become more common among Stoner/Psych bands in the past year. Channeling their best Wayne Kramer and Fred 'Sonic' Smith, Nickles and Sabolick simply shred here while Culp thunders away and Sabolick's frentic Rob Tyner-like vocal approach. Unlike many of the bands trying to capture the essence of the MC5, ECSTATIC VISION's approach seems far more successful a venture, with a perfect blend of sincerity and originality coming through. “For the Masses” certainly resembles the peak of our journey, disrupting in and out of chaos within a fury of guitars, low end and fusion fueled saxophone.

Conner's bass riff establishes the grounding foundation within “The Magic Touch”, all while chaos still swirls around, snaking here there and everywhere before the guitar takes over the riff just prior to it's abrupt ending. “Grasping the Void” throw in the uniqueness of Nickles' flute early, and yet another great guitar riff that builds menacingly to Sabolick's layered vocals. This closing track does the best job of wrapping up our Psych journey through cosmic reaches via a Detroit blend of Rock, Blues and Punk.
I really enjoyed ECSTATIC VISION's “For The Masses”. They piqued my interest enough that I'm now wanting to backtrack through their earlier releases to share their journey to this point. Production could have been a bit more, but overall this is a really fine release. ECSTATIC VISION's sound is what a street brawl between HAWKWIND, THE MC5 and MONSTER MAGNET would produce. Chaotic, beautiful fury. Get you some.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Sage Wisdom
2. Shut Up and Drive
3. Yuppie Sacrifice
4. Like a Freak
5. For the Masses
6. The Magic Touch
7. Grasping the Void
Lineup:
Douglas Sabolick – Guitar, Vocals
Kevin Nickles – Guitar, Flute, Saxophone
Michael Field Conner - Bass
Ricky Culp - Drums
Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
     


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