When we think of stoner metal and psychedelic metal at this point, the element most likely associated to those genres is smoke. Stoner at this point equates to marijuana usage. People sitting around smoking joints or hitting a bong. Huge clouds of smoke billowing out of whatever room someone has hotboxed or smoke coughed out of a mouth after smoking a joint. Think of the huge cloud of smoke following the stoners as they leave their van in Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Sleep’s Al Cisneros bellows about following the smoke to the riff filled land. At this point, it’s a cliche. But does Kanaan break that on Downpour…
Norway’s Kanaan associate psychedelia as a liquid experience to expand the mind in lieu of being a cliche. Their excellent brand of heavy psychedelic rock reminds listeners the mind is a liquid medium to taking in new ideas. Like the cinematic images and concert poster art of the 60s, their latest evokes fluidity. Downpour is a psychedelic trip as a journey to take, not simply an escape. Smoke might be ethereal but, as Bruce Lee said, water takes the shape of its container. Kanaan commit to filling that container with every heavy and mind expanding idea they can.
Downpour reinforces the psychedelic experience as a fluid one. Kanaan’s fuzzy guitar tones are familiar touchstones for a heavy psychedelic album. However, those guitar sounds act as a medium to pass listeners through to a wider, heavier sound. The bass playing recedes and crashes like waves hitting a beach. The opening track “Black Time Fuzz” is the familiar fuzzy bliss of garage rock, albeit on the heavier end of that genre. The song is a baby step into these waters though. After that track though, the band then becomes a submarine exploring a larger psychedelic ocean. Just as pressure increases the deeper one goes in the ocean, this album gets heavier as it progresses. By the time, the album gets to the two part finale “Solaris,” Kanaan’s heaviness makes listeners feel they’re at the bottom of the ocean. Kanaan clearly went deep and brought back something worth hearing.
Kanaan’s seventh album Downpour is a welcome plethora of heavy psychedelic sounds. This album is heavy with ideas, and heavy with riffs. It’s worth hopping into that submarine and exploring the depths this album has to offer.
— D. Morris
Downpour is available now on Jansen Records. For more information on Kanaan, visit their Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter.