Paradigm Shift – AMON ACID

I wish I lived in California. To be honest, I’d settle for Uruguay. Unfortunately, life’s a bitch and marijuana is still firmly illegal in the UK, and so I cannot possibly enjoy the new AMON ACID in the way that nature intended. A terrible shame, of course, but you’re stuck with the cards you’re dealt. Luckily, “Paradigm Shift” is sufficiently freaked-out and mind-expanding to almost negate the need for a giant spliff prior to consumption.

Purveyors of a uniquely syrupy but rough-hewn strain of psychedelic doom, AMON ACID have nailed their aesthetic by this point: if you like old horror movie soundtracks and tripping your tits off, songs like the serpentine stoner rumble of “Monarch” and the stuttering, synth-laced “Fear Of Space” occupy a similar atmospheric space, but with several layers of mischievous glee making the disorientation even more profound. There’s an endearing lo-fi quality to these recordings that makes them sound like feverish ‘eureka!’ moments erupting from some spooky, fog-shrouded shed at the bottom of the garden. Benevolently embellished with a veritable shit-ton of space rock sparkle ‘n’ woosh, something like “Overlord” sounds wickedly out of step with most modern takes on pot-addled heaviness. An unmistakable debt to the Krautrock movement, and the most out-there experiments of AMON DÜÜL II in particular, makes perfect sense, given AMON ACID‘s obvious taste for gentle subversion.

But while its fine details and cracked-mirror approach are major pluses, AMON ACID also deliver plenty of slow, crushing riffs and hypnotic, overdriven scree. The closing title track is the indica-sodden payoff at the end of a long day’s trip, as a colossal central riff grinds onwards and up into the stratosphere, chin-deep in cavernous reverb and heavy with the threat of unnamed spectral horrors. Halfway through this 13-minute behemoth, another, even better riff crackles into life, and AMON ACID start the slow, disorientating descent into madness that this brilliantly weird and wonky album promised from the start. Whether you’re able to get monstrously stoned or not, “Paradigm Shift” does a lot of the mind-altering work for you.

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