Nebula - "Let it Burn" (Relapse 1998, RR 6991, 8-song version)
Nebula/Lowrider split CD
(Meteor City 1998, MCY-004)
From Aural Innovations #6 (April 1999)
Last time, I told you about the debut mini-CD that Nebula (the Fu Manchu spin-off) put out on the Man's Ruin label. Well, since then, they've spliced on two more tracks, and have re-released it (same cover photo/different band logo) as a nearly full-length disc (35 minutes). If you haven't already gotten the original, take the time to track down this one instead, because one of the new additions ("Sonic Titan") is probably the strongest on the album. Of course, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" comes to mind almost immediately once it starts, but after the full seven and a half minutes are through, you find that Nebula put serious thought into developing some interesting themes. Again, the vocal melodies leave something to be desired - in fact, this is one of those rare instances where I'd be elated to hear a catchy chorus once in awhile. "Devil's Liquid," the album's new finale, is another standard stone-rocker...a rapid-fire riffing and bass vamping feast, but really only limited appeal to my ears.
Nebula has been very busy in the EP-making process, as they have now collaborated with Swedish stoners Lowrider on a Double EP (4 tracks each). (And now I've learned that Nebula has *another* (solo) EP out already... geez, ever heard of albums?). OK, it's apparent that Eddie Glass' vocal style is staying put... monotone delivery of half-shouted lyrics and no melodic choruses. I don't like it, and that's too bad, because the man can deliver some magnificent heavy-psychedelic riffs. "Anything From You" and "Full Throttle" win me over instantly with the dark & doomy vs. the light & bubbly that works well for just about anybody. Unfortunately, the other tunes aren't quite strong enough to make up for the weak melodies and unimaginative singing.
You can visit Nebula at their web site.
Lowrider chooses to stretch out a bit more on their songs, and so these four tracks take up almost 22 of the album's 38 minutes. They share singing duties with guitarist Ola and bassist Peder handling most of the lead vocals. Ola's voice on "Lameneshma" has a peculiar quality to it reminding me of an old glam-rock band (perhaps it's Noddy Holder of Slade I'm thinking of?). Anyway, I liked it here, and the lyrical lines they created were definitely an improvement over Nebula. Oh yeah, no doubt every track resembles "Children of the Grave" but with those oh-so-necessary quiet bridge sections. And yeah, "Upon the Dune" pulls out the same-ole Eastern tabla gimmick we've heard a thousand times before. But lest you think I've grown a little too cynical about the stoner boom, I'm still ready for a bit more to come my way (I have higher-than-average saturation limits), and so Lowrider stays on my future acquisition list. That is, as long as future releases are domestic. Otherwise, I'll stick with hunting down other Orange Goblin material instead.
Contact: Captains Cabin c/o Bergstrand, Strandvägen 20, 652 23 Karlstad, Sweden or via e-mail at: email@example.com
Reviewed by Keith Henderson