Written by Album Review

We’re presenting the new series of live releases from Gabriele Fiori’s prolific label Heavy Psych Sounds, which are meant to satisfy the most insatiable enthusiasts of heavy and hazy music.

Let’s face it, these releases are quite divisive depending on where you stand. As fanboys/fangirls and collectors, we think that HPS is absolutely determined to get the last hard-earned pennies from us, while the media keep telling us that we have to choose between heating or filling up the gas tank. Even if the prices remain very attractive (16,50€ for the black vinyl edition), we still wonder about such an investment for live performances wrapped in thirty minutes (Duel and Ecstatic Vision) or already available for a few weeks on the Tube in HD quality (The Atomic Bitchwax thanks to WDR Rockpalast — subscribe to their Youtube channel, you’ll thank me later). That’s it for the rant.

But let’s look at it differently and put things in context. After two years of muffled live music, the 2022 festival season was marked by huge lineups and an even larger attendance. This series of live recordings has therefore a documentary value on the artists meeting with their crowd again. Let’s add to that these festivals’ top-notch technical means: all the conditions were met to immortalize a season in hell. As stoner rock freaks, it is likely that you have seen one of the three bands on their last European summer tour. So this is simply your chance to relive one of these Dantean shows. Something that has a truly special dimension. As far as I’m concerned, I saw both Duel and Ecstatic Vision at Hellfest and they were absolutely unmissable for any fan of electric chaos.

And we are delighted to enjoy the proto flavor and vintage patina of Texan heavy rock’n’rollers DUEL, even if these get a bit lost in the natural reverberation of a stage as big as the Valley. Given the time allotted to them, the trio drew from the best of their discography to deliver a dense, coherent yet burning-hot performance.

It’s with the same excitement that we bask in the furious madness of ECSTATIC VISION‘s Duna Jam performance. Their hypnotic version of “TV Eye” is certainly the most active psychotropic drug available legally. Impossible not to dance to the sound of this electrifying performance while feeling like in the heart of this privileged crowd. A rare moment of pure psychedelic extravagance, both chaotic and completely surreal. The happy few will certainly be able to say to themselves: “fuck, I was there”.

And if there is one receptive audience, it’s the one from the ATOMIC BITCHWAX recording. One of the outstanding features of the US heavyweights’ show is indeed the communion with their public. You’d think you were there! The trio obviously handpicked their most frantic tracks and allow no downtime. Betting everything on their bluesy shredding, galvanizing bass grooves and intense pounding from the beginning to the end: the energy and good vibes that emanate from the show take over your living room.

In spite of all these qualities, I won’t encourage you to buy physical copies of these albums, as their short duration does not justify it. But for little less than twenty euros (6,66 € per album) and Bandcamp’s playlist function, you just generated a nearly perfect festival lineup with impeccable sound quality, to be relived endlessly. Who can do better?

Find all these albums on HPS Records website and Bandcamp.

Last modified: 5 April 2023