The Upshot: A ripping good time hearing Middle Eastern sounds given a decidedly metallic, psychedelic twist.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Middle and Far Eastern musics have long found their way into psychedelic rock. But few acid rockers soak themselves in those tonalities as thoroughly as Blaak Heat. The Paris-born/L.A.-based power trio formerly known as Blaak Heat Shujaa ratchets up the melodies it borrows from that part of the world for an exotic thrill ride still powered by jamming rock & roll. Guitarist Thomas Bellier doesn’t stint on wah-wah, hammer-ons and fuzz tone, but he groks the Persian sense of swing as few non-natives can, giving “Black Hawk,” “The Peace Within” and “The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim” a tuneful endowment that feels faithful to the music’s original intent. The band even takes on the Afghan traditional “Mola Mamad Djan” with superior results.
Augmented by regional instruments like the oud, the kanun and the darbuka, as well as violin, keyboards and extra percussion, Blaak Heat rip through ten tunes that wouldn’t sound out of place as the psychedelic soundtrack to 1001 Arabian Nights.
DOWNLOAD: “The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim,” “The Peace Within,” “Black Hawk”