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Warlung – Optical Delusions

Optical Delusions
by Gary Hernandez at 25 October 2020, 4:15 PM

I’m not from Houston, Texas, but I’ve lived in the region more than once and for a total of around ten years. There are some things I don’t miss about the greater Houston area — hurricanes, mosquitoes, humidity — but there are things I do miss like the people, the food, and the music. From the Scout Bar and Warehouse Live to the whole Goode Company conglomerate to the loads of friends and family I have in the area, Houston is just a good place to be. And did I mention it’s home base to WARLUNG? Yep, there’s that too.

WARLUNG has been around since 2016. They have three full-length albums including “Optical Delusions” released October 09, 2020 on Psych Sounds Records. If you know Psych Sounds, then you probably already have the idea that WARLUNG lays down a Psychedelic Stoner metal laced with 70’s hard rock, bluesy accents. With “Optical Delusions” they don’t deviate from that formula. While it isn’t their heaviest offering, it is certainly the most mature. And not mature as in boring adult, but rather as in confident and self-actualized.

The album comprises eight tracks and comes in at forty minutes. Thematically it’s fantasy horror stuff, though more from a lyrical angle than musically. No atmospheric scratchings from hell here, just groovy riffs, clean vocal harmonies, and memorable melodies. Stylistically, they have a distinctive sharps-and-flats thing about them from their vocal synchronizations to their riffs. You could name one of the bands tunes in about three notes.

Best tracks are many. “Phantasmagoria,” “The Scorpion In The Sun,” “Order Of The Solar Temple,” “Hell On Earth,” and “No Man’s Land” all rank high on my favorites list. Landing in the gray, undecided area is “Devil’s Game,” despite some really strong vocals. Thankfully, the ending solo, which runs about a minute and a half, makes it all better. On the downside, “Sun Eater” doesn’t hold up to the same level as the rest of the album. Sorry. The tempo is too slow, the duration too long. Just too much plus an organ.

Distinctions go to the guitar work of George and Philip — the final moments of “Order Of The Solar Temple” and “Devil’s Game” are remarkable — and the vocal performances, again by George and Philip, are also stellar. There are several tracks where one or both of these dudes just wail, and in a good way. From 2016 to today, there’s been some serious growth going on with this band.

Having mentioned half of the band, I should also call out the brothers Tamez who lay down a mean and tight rhythm section. Nowhere is it more apparent than the final track, “No Man’s Land.” There’s something about this track, and the whole album for that matter, that invokes BLACK SABBATH’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (the album more than the song) and URIAH HEEP’s “Demons and Wizards.” Classic stuff.

WARLUNG’s third album is impressive. In the midst of a global pandemic they have come into their own. So, maybe some bad timing there, but hopefully venues will start opening again soon. For steady WARLUNG fans, you’ll appreciate the obvious evolution on this album. For new listeners, “Optical Delusions” is a great jumping on point, and you can venture backwards for their more raw, unrefined material.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

  1. Phantasmagoria
  2. The Scorpion In The Sand
  3. Snake Eyes
  4. Sun Eater
  5. Order Of The Solar Temple
  6. Hell On Earth
  7. Devil’s Game
  8. No Man’s Land
George Baba – Guitars, vocals
Philip Bennett – Guitars, vocals
Chris Tamez – Bass
Ethan Tamez – Drums
Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records


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