It?s been ten years since doom veterans Acid King released new material, and although the genre has been undergoing a reinvention in the interim, the wake of III left a void not so easily filled. For their return with Middle Of Nowhere, founding duo Joey Osbourne and Lori are joined by bassist Mark Lamb, marking his first recording with the band despite having entered the fold seven years ago. In short, it?s fair to say that things take their sweet time in the Acid King-camp, both on and off the stage. Luckily some things are worth waiting for.
The laid back grooves that have become synonymous with Acid King are back with a vengeance, with Lamb?s mega-fuzzy bass sounding like it was born for this band. Lori, the acid queen herself, belts out easygoing psychedelic solos like nobody?s business, while drawing out every syllable of the lyrics as long as possible. Meanwhile, Osbourne keeps busy with relentless fills and other subtle touches, showing why he?s been with the band since they began in 1993. Averaging at around eight minutes, every song on Middle Of Nowhere builds upon a memorable bassline, crawling deliberately along with a carefree attitude that somehow still feels like being crushed under an avalanche of sound. It?s intensely mesmerizing, sucking you into a vortex of smoke, dim strobes, and a general purplish haze. The slow and steady repetition on cuts such as ?Coming Down From Outer Space? only reinforces the hypnotic qualities of the band, while outclassing any younger challengers to the coveted stoner throne.
It?s frankly amazing how easy Acid King makes everything sound, and despite the mammoth size of these tracks, they all float along like a warm desert breeze. An hour flies by in what feels like minutes, yet the riffs and solos stick around, reverberating for days. Heavy, massive, gargantuan, no matter what you want to call it, Middle Of Nowhere is an incredibly solid piece of work. Even the instrumental intro and outro-tracks feel like they serve a purpose here, leaving no room for filler whatsoever. With producer Billy Anderson returning to the chair, there was little doubt about how the album would sound, but it feels as though the unique Acid King-touch has taken another step in the right direction. Dense to a point where breathing is obstructed, the sheer substance of this record would have been physically imposing if it wasn?t so damn relaxing.
From the cover painting of a wizard riding a tiger in space, to the stellar songwriting and earthshaking sound, Middle Of Nowhere, Center Of Everywhere is a triumph on every level. Turn up the volume and brace yourself for some ridiculously crushing tunes. Newcomers take note; this is how stoner doom should sound.