Fooz - s/t
(Custom Heavy Records 2001, ar/ch-001)


From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)

Fooz is a Spanish band that plays heavy rock covering heavy metallic space/psych/stoner territory, as well as calmer and more melodic acoustic songs. The band consists of Pablo Baon Varo on drums, Andrs Lizon Arias on bass, Ignacio Fuentes Luri on vocals and guitars, and Juan Angel Gomez Beneyto on lead guitars. This is their first release.

"Earthwind" and "Cool Guys" are the two most overtly space oriented tracks on the disc. Pulsating space synths open "Earthwind", quickly followed by metallic guitars, a pounding rhythm section, and Luri's aggressive but melodic vocals. This is an excellent song that alternates between powerful rock and lighter, but equally potent, acoustic moments. The synths are somewhat secondary but they still give the music a killer cosmic element that reveals their stated Gong, Hawkwind, and Amon Dl II influences. "Cool Guys" starts off as a raw metallic rocker, but some very cool garage rocking solos soon kick in, only to evolve into a drifting space/psych excursion that bring back the bubbling space synths and tripped out guitars to add a welcome heady atmosphere.

"Alone You Stand", "Clouds Of Words", and "Smoke Is Over" all give a strong nod to Black Sabbath so it was no surprise to discover that Fooz were at one time a Sabbath tribute band. "Clouds Of Words" is a kick ass rocker with Black Sabbath rhythms and Ozzie-like vocals, but far more energetic than Sabbath ever was. Fooz have clearly forsaken the valium in favor of something more adrenaline pumping. And "Smoke Is Over" is a softer song with melodic wah'd rhythm guitars. The Sabbath sound is still there but it also reminds me a bit of the slower tunes Robin Trower used to do. Very nice song with calm but tasteful guitar licks. "Hifooz (Space Liquid)" is like a Led Zeppelin acoustic tune with acoustic guitars, rushing wind synths, and Robert Planet vocals. A very nice acoustic tune with freaky electronics providing a strange but cosmically fun contrast.

"Mine" took me by surprise with its odd but intriguing combination of influences. Acoustic guitar strums hard while an even-toned Robert Fripp styled guitar line drones along, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash harmonies crop up intermittently. And the closing track, "Mixhole Masterdoom" is a trippy experimental collage tune with samples of earlier tracks in the background and trancey atmospherics in the forefront. Relative to all the previous tracks this is pretty surreal stuff, reminding me of a lysergic mixture of early Pink Floyd and the Beatles Revolution #9. Overall, a damn fine heavy rock set of tunes with lots of variety, making it thankfully hard to pigeonhole this band.

For more information you can visit the Custom Heavy web site at: http://www.customheavy.com/chr. This is a GREAT web site with reviews, interviews, and an easily navigated online shop with RealAudio samples. Read an interview with Fooz there at: http://www.customheavy.com/bands/fooz/fooz_interview.shtml.
Contact via snail mail c/o Custom Heavy Records; 210 The Village #305; Redondo Beach, CA 90277.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz


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