Proving that gravel-road rock is not exclusively the product of the American west, Oviedo, Spain’s Green Desert Water let loose a lethal dose of thrashing riffs and classically influenced, sun scorched vocals on their latest full length Solar Plexus.
Green Desert Water is a 3-piece whose output prior to Solar Plexus amounted to 2012’s, six-track, self-titled EP. This is a great big guitar record in every sense of the definition. It’s brashly performed hard rock with muscular undertones that flexes without ever dealing an air of menace. While wholly gratifying though, Solar Plexus lacks any of the psych-rock experimentation that colors the better gravel-road rock records going. A few flashes of nuance, I feel, would elevate the record into the stratosphere it aspires to.
On “Open Your Wings” the eight-minute opening track the guitars are fast, vocals racing defiantly as the song shudders and stomps to its end. As a blues influenced thrash guitar anthem, “Chaman” demands maximum volume, crashing to a spectacularly brawny finish. Production wise, I feel like the vocals are too prominent, but they hardly drown out the wild instrumentation. At every track I want to put Solar Plexus on the big speakers and crank up the volume. There is an element of background music at play on the record. At times, this feels like party music. A rough bass solo opens “The Deepest Sea” the album’s shortest track at just short of five minutes and it’s off to another relentless, vocal heavy rock star composition. While “Souls Of The Woodland” sounds like one of those down tempo, groove induced thinkers it ends up being more straightforward and, in spite of the staggering vocal performance, ends up underwhelming.
Overall, Solar Plexus is an entertaining record for hard rock fans of bands like Red Fang. Fusion record this is not, there always seems to be room for Black Sabbath worship, even in the Iberian underground.