The bands coming from the former Soviet Union (particularly Russia, and now Ukraine) are becoming serious contenders in the world of stoner/psyche rock. After having met with some of my recent favorites such as The Re-Stoned, Vespero, The Grand Astoria, Without God, Sehnsucht and Sex Type Thing (all from Russia), it’s time to move to Ukraine and meet up with Ethereal Riffian. I was approached by the main composer, lyricist and guitarist of the band, hiding under the pseudonym Stonezilla, who mailed me a copy of their debut called Shaman’s Visions.
First of all, I have to express my enthusiasm for the album’s package, which looks pretty nice (see pic below) with outstanding artwork signed by Max Mute & Stonezilla. Although, it has been proven many times that even after you find a really nice album cover you can definitely still find that the album itself is really crappy, Ethereal Riffian keeps on delivering the same outstanding work throughout Shaman’s Visions.
I’ve been exposed to so many albums of the same/similar genre orientation in last months and there are certainly a distinguished group of albums that “could make it“. With Shaman’s Visions this Ukrainian trio, helped by a handful of guest musicians, succeeded to escape from the lowest level of stoner rock subgenre and join the chosen group.
Etheral Riffian delivers a stoner-doom polarization intercrossed with variety of folksy motifs reached out with a flutework of Olga (no last name given), who is signed as Shaman’s voice in the album’s credits. An easy conclusion could be made from the album’s name. These guys are dealing with spiritualism and mysticism and you tell me, what’s a better way of serving it than with stoner-doom rock with plenty of other influences taken from the rich folk/tribal legacy.
Shaman’s Visions comes as a soundimage of the shamanic ritual(s), setting that way a bond between the human and spiritual worlds. Ethereal Riffian is on the mission of mending your soul and this is something that accompanies the whole feeling the record gives away. Musically, ER is the Om‘s branch on the Sleep‘s rooted tree. They will hypnotize you, make you sleep, show you a vision and break it with a damn greasy riffing blitzkrieg, while bombing your ganglions with choral chanting and giddy guitar soloing. The band has the ability to deaden the album’s flow to its extreme values, flirting with psychedelia and transitional progressive rock moments (Part V: Light of Self (The Truth)), subsequently coming with their mainstay – stoner rock.
Shaman’s Visions is Ethereal Riffian’s sacred stone and more than good starting point for what might come next. These fellas have set their bedrock, upgrading it into a temple will be a tough and challenging task, but no matter of that as long as they are praising the smoke, their intermediation between the worlds is successful.
1. Part I – Whispering of the Ancients (The Awakening) 02:06
2. Part II – Beyond (The Search) 06:56
3. Part III – Yax Imix Che (The Path) 08:45
4. Part IV – The Voice of Reason (The Enlightenment) 03:40
5. Part V – Light of Self (The Truth) 09:11
* Stonezilla – guitars, vocal
* Saf- Bass
* Southman – Guitars