Sundrifter is a three-piece desert/stoner rock band hailing from Boston, Massachusetts who released their debut album in 2016. This new album, ‘Visitations’ is a masterpiece. Not in the technical sense but overall the album features great rhythms, grooves, and is highly cohesive and consistent in the theme. What makes this album so great is the fact that it isn’t a highly technical assortment of songs but very catchy and easy on the ears that’s nice to have in the playlist. Their style has a very Soundgarden/Led Zeppelin-esque twist to it, but the underlying style wasn’t instantly recognisable so I applaud how they have taken it and made it their own.
The album opens with Sons of Belial, an explosive song with a great groove behind it. Ominous chugging guitar riffs paired with the crashing cymbals are consistent throughout the song. Guitars gallop in the opening riffs that get you excited for what is coming next. Thundering drums in the verses also add to the power that this song gives out. The choruses boom and vocals soar over the galloping guitars.
Death March begins with a droning noise followed by another dark guitar riff. The vocals really carry in this song, and that adds to the ominous theme portrayed already through the instruments. A consistent droning bass in the background fills the song out to complete it. The song title does it justice, since while listening I could really imagine a hoard of people mindlessly marching to their death. With this not so nice image aside, the tune itself is rather enjoyable. A little faster paced than the previous song, Lightworker is very upbeat and uplifting to listen to. Drumbeats skip along throughout the whole song and the underlying rhythm is very consistent, keeping it simple, memorable, and easy to groove to.
Targeted returns this album journey back to hammering drums and evil-sounding guitar riffs. Some beautiful haunting vocals feature in this one. The song begins with the ominous guitar riff that very gradually builds with the drums behind it. Smashing cymbals get louder, and along with thumping kicks make for an explosive chorus before quieting back down for the verses. The song ends much like it begins, quiet and foreboding.
With an even, slow-chugging groove, Til You Come Down is the halfway point in this album and for five minutes your ears are treated to a tune that is both heavy and easygoing at the same time – heavy riffs but easygoing rhythm and speed. It conjures images of travelling in space on an old dingy ship – probably very oddly specific but interestingly while the music itself isn’t overloaded with space-sounding effects it still entices the imagination with images of space.
Hammerburn opens with hammering toms that then progress into another low evil-sounding guitar riff. The verses and quiet and ominous with ethereal vocals, and are balanced with explosive, cymbal-crashing choruses to break them up. The song concludes with the hammering drums and chugging guitars and slows to a final crash. A similar rhythm to the previous song but faster again, Sky Peoples Son opens with a cool dissonant riff that flows into the verses. This song has more of a blues vibe to it than all the previous songs with the fills in between the verses and choruses. Unlike the other songs on this album so far, there is a guitar solo part way through to break up the rhythm and again, some very bluesy themes going on. It gives the song a nice balance with the normally droning and dissonant tune, something reminiscent of Soundgarden.
Fire In The Sky is the longest song on the album at eight minutes, and begins with a foreboding introduction filled with rhythmic tom drums and evil guitars. Progressing to crashing drums and smashing guitars this song starts with the heaviest and most dramatic opening. This song has a very old-school grunge vibe to it and the rhythm remains steady throughout the piece.
As the final song on this album, I Want To Leave is a beautiful way to round it off. It is clean and quiet, and the vocals are both haunting and dreamy at the same time; it takes your mind to another place. There are no drums in this song, which adds to the overall melancholy mood of the piece. It is very different from the rest of the song and is a stark contrast to the otherwise overall energetic style of the album. Oddly enough I Want To Leave is both emotional and soothing to listen to.
Overall this album was well worth the listen, with rhythms you can headbang to and the tunes get your imagination going. The style of this album is not overly complicated but makes for an enjoyable listen and having the curveball I Want To Leave at the end has the album giving you more and more all the way to the end.
You can purchase the album here.