Ripple Music presents The Second Coming Of Heavy Chapter 5
Desert Suns & Chiefs
Split 12″ vinyl
San Diego four-piece Desert Suns will release their new single, The Haunting, on March 30 via Ripple Music. If you want to be technical about it — and I know you do — it’s the first new music to come from the wave-making heavy rock outfit since their self-titled debut in mid-2014, though to be fair, that self-titled has continued to gain traction more or less since it was issued, with pressings through HeviSike Records and Ripple issued this January. The band, comprised of bassist/vocalist Dave Russell, guitarists Woogie Maggard and Anthony Belluto and drummer Ben McDowell, made several striking impressions throughout that album, and “The Haunting” pushes the group’s stylistic reach further into a blend of desert-hued heavy rock, doom and psychedelic blues.
If it sounds like a lot of space to cover — oh yeah, sometimes they talk about space, too — it is. Clocked in at just under seven minutes, “The Haunting” ties these various sides together via an earthy, Sabbath–derived traditionalism, so that even as the track offers something new, there’s an underlying familiarity that allows the listener, whether long-time convert or newcomer after the self-titled, to follow along with the fluid and deceptively atmospheric build throughout. The poise of the central riff as it takes hold after a quiet opening stretch and the molten solo in the track’s second half are out of an Iommic text, no doubt, but in the context of the initial unfolding, with its far-back, headphone-worthy strings, patient guitar lines, stellar snare work, warm bass and bluesy vocals, and it’s clear there’s something richer going on in “The Haunting” than trying to recast “Hand of Doom.” That eerie but somehow welcoming ambience comes and goes throughout “The Haunting,” true enough to the song’s title, but do the honor of ending out the track after all the crash and heft has receded, and they give a suitably ghostly impression.