The Spacelords is a German band who label themselves as psychedelic space rock. Okay, maybe something like that, but I think that at least on their first album they sound a lot more like Jimi Hendrix than Hawkwind, for example. They also have some ethnic and world music influences, among others. And nothing wrong with that, since this trio really can play and jam like there’s no tomorrow! I asked them to send me their latest offering, a live album recorded in 2012, but the band kindly sent me all of their three CD’s. The main trio on all these records is composed of guitarist and occasional singer Matthias Wettstein, drummer Marcus Schnitzler and bassist Klaus Werz, and they also play synths etc. when needed (which is not that often, especially so on the debut). The music is mainly instrumental, and the first, self-titled album also features Reinhold Pape on flute and effects.
The first album starts off with the ten-minute-plus “Wah Wah”, and you definitely get a lot of Hendrix-styled wah guitar on this one! Some great licks and a nice groove in there. Also “Manamba” sort of reminds me of Jimi, but it sounds more modern than that and the flute adds the progressive rock vibe. “Apeman” is very Hendrix styled as well, or something that The Outskirts of Infinity might have come up with. “Slowdown” is a more bluesy tune that also has some flute, and on “Golfstrorm” the band goes into this sort of ethnic, hypnotic, trance world with nice delay guitar and percussion work before starting the standard (but very good) early 70’s styled guitar jamming. The rhythm section is excellent too, by the way! “Cruising” is a more atmospheric track that reminds me of some of the more progressive kraut rock bands from the early 70s. The debut ends with the over 14-minute, mellow, dreamy and mid-tempo “Janakpur” that has a very nice Eastern vibe and once again flute and great solo guitar work. Maybe my favourite on this album!
Dimension 7 starts off with the title track that also has vocals. A little bit of King Crimson in there, perhaps? Also some spacey effects which is great. Then it’s time for “Echoes from the Past (Part 1)” that could have been played by Guru Guru in the late 70’s or early 80’s, very groovy and psychedelic stuff with those typical delay guitar patterns that always work so well. “Echoes from the Past (Part 2)” continues the jam with some more djembe and without vocals. Very nice! “Space Caravan” is a bit mellower, but still groovy instrumental track with percussion and floating keyboards. “Gidamba” has a definitive African rhythm and I like this one too. The little bit too vague “Titty Twister” has some dirty moaning mixed in whether you like it or not… I sort of do! On “Pyroclastic” the band gets pretty weird and psychedelic which of course is a good thing in my books! The hypnotic “Air Liquid” and the last, long piece “Hypnotized” remind me of the spacey psych rock band Tribe of Crow and some trippy German bands like Electric Orange and Zone Six (their synth player is now in The Spacelords I just noticed!), so you know I like these. Now this is starting to be what I call space rock!
Okay, then the live album… As you might have guessed, this limited edition disc includes tracks from both albums plus a couple of unreleased, maybe new, tracks. They open up with “Hypnotized” and I’m of course happy about that. It’s nice to hear that they can create this full psychedelic sound even live with just the tree of them. Then it’s time for “Wah Wah” and “Apeman” from the first album to really rock out in the Hendrix style and this works live too. Then we get the two new tracks in the row, the at first spacey and floating “Prelude-Rhinoceros-Bison” that also has some galactic narration before it starts to rock more and the aptly named heavy rocker “Synapse”. The album ends with a great version of “Pyroclastic” and I’m sure the audience was satisfied after that one. What a mind-blowing trip! For those who like to keep their head in space: go for the two latest releases but the Hendrix fans should also get the debut album. The digipak covers also look really fine and psychy…