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Kadabra – Ultra

by Gary Hernandez at 20 November 2021, 4:44 PM

KADABRA is a Psych Rock trio out of Spokane, Washington. On September 17, 2021, they issued their debut album, “Ultra,” via Heavy Psych Sounds Records. While they aren’t a Metal outfit, you can easily call them Stoner/Doom adjacent. “Ultra” spans seven tracks and clocks out at 45 minutes. It is a blues heavy, 70’s infused romp through a psych fun land with lyrics that are eccentric and trippy and a vibe that is Doom-paced but more spirited than dark. If KADABRA was a Lord of the Rings character, they would be Tom Bombadil.

Lengthwise, “Ultra” is a full-length album; mix-wise it sounds like a demo . . . like someone tossed wet blankets over the amps—and not in a “let’s replicate analog” way, but more like a literal “where should I put his wet blanket that I somehow ended up with?” incident. And while the mix doesn’t take away from the musicianship or the songwriting abilities of the band, it does detract from the listenability of the album. This is exacerbated as these are long-ish songs, with three topping the seven-minute mark and only one dipping below five. That’s a long time to be soaking under wet blankets.

Garrett Zanol is a clean vocalist way on the soprano side, again adding to the psych vibe, although he never truly wails so much as croons . . . which isn't a bad thing. There are no standout riffs or solos, and the rhythm section solidly meets expectations—in short, nothing too innovative or unique. The band seems to want to be explorative but fail to commit, so you end up with long tracks that on their way to becoming jams just end up being repetitive.

As a demo, KADABRA’s “Ultra” shows promise. As a full-baked, full-length debut from a fairly strong label, though, I’m a bit surprised. Even the cover art and album title fail to connect—an ornate stained glass, gothic window aspiring to high fantasy but landing on low ecclesiastical. And “ultra” is a superlative for a cleaning product. Just saying. Yeah, so in the end, there are lot more interesting Psych bands out at the moment than KADABRA. Maybe worth keeping an eye on, but not quite there yet.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 4

2 Star Rating

1.  Graveyard
2.  Faded Black
3.  Eagle 20's
4.  Bean King
5.  Death
6.  Coyote
7.  Settle Me
Garrett Zanol – Guitars, vocals
Ian Nelson – Bass
Chase Howard – Drums
Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records


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Edited 28 November 2021

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