Stone Oak Cosmonaut - "Out of Orbit"
From Aural Innovations #39 (May 2008)
Stone Oak Cosmonaut are a new Dutch trio who play a monster blend of Space Rock, Metal and Stoner Rock. The band consists of Fred Stack on "space guitar", Peter on drums and Von Trippenhof on bass, electronics and vocals. And if the name Von Trippenhof sounds familiar it's probably because he did some time in the late 1990s with The Legendary Pink Dots.
The band burst out hot and heavy with "Keph-Tun", a pounding slab of Space-Metal. Swirling alien electronics, crunchy metallic guitar and cosmic space guitar. A solid opener. "A Circle Run" is next and we're now deep in Stoner Space Rock territory. These guys know how to incorporate the electronics into the music so that it all gels nicely. And Von Trippenhof's vocals sound a lot like Wino, so between that and the music this sounds like it could be Spirit Caravan gone Space Rock (I told him that and he had not previously heard of Wino or any of his bands). And again we get a great mixture of heavy stoner and bubbly space guitar, which culminates in a mind-blowing spaced out stoner-psychedelic finale.
"Away in the Laika", "The Gift of the Eyeless Merchant" and "Oh Yeah" are other solid stoner space metal tunes I enjoyed. "The Gift of the Eyeless Merchant" is probably the most intense song of the set. A genuine battlecry for war feel. And Fred really rips up the solos on "Oh Yeah". "A Light in the Dark" starts off dreamily ethereal and trips along like that for a couple minutes before launching into a heavy rocking stoner-metal-space rock blast. It's got some of Von Trippenhof's most potent vocals and a killer cosmic jam segment. "Reborn Again (Latter Day Beelzebub)" is a bit different, having a good time, though totally grungy, rock 'n roll edge to it. It's melodic, almost pop, on the one hand, but in no way dispenses with the powerful metallic flavor of the rest of the album. And interesting song with contrasting styles.
But the highlight… the standout… the ultimate monster of the album, is the two part, 25 minute "Out of Orbit". "Earthless" is part 1, and starts off as an easy paced spacey song with both freaky electronics and proggy synth washes. Soon Von Trippenhof's bass starts to get a groove going, the drumming gets increasingly rocking, and when Fred's guitar kicks in we're in full power trio psych rock mode. Fred briefly plays in a Hendrix style until the band abruptly shift to the now trademark Stone Oak Cosmonaut metallic rocking vibe. And back and forth they go, between intense stoner metal and ripping spaced out psychedelic jamming. Lots going on here, and I really dig the hip shakin' psychedelic boogie-woogie bits. And when we get to part 2 - "Star Voyage" - its 14 blissful minutes of heavy, take no prisoners JAMMING! HEAVY duty metallic, rock 'n rolling SPACE ROCK! Absolutely fucking awesome.
This is without a doubt one of the best albums I've heard this year. Walter at Roadburn should consider these guys for the festival next year, especially given that they're right in his back yard. For fans of First Band From Outer Space, Earthless, Litmus, and of course Hawkwind. Highest as a kite recommendation!
For more information you can visit the Stone Oak Cosmonaut web site at: http://www.myspace.com/stoneoakcosmonaut.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz