"Palm Reader" (Magnetic Eye Records; 2024)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I've written recently on these pages how the stoner/doom genre is fast becoming on of my favorites and bands like High Desert Queen are gonna keep it that way.

"Palm Reader" is seven tracks (two of which run over nine minutes each) of bone-crushing stoner/doom fuzz guitars, pulverizing rhythms and vocals that fit the songs like a brand new Black Sabbath t-shirt. The music is big ... I mean really BIG. Guitars pound into your ears like hammers or slice into them like razors; the bass and drums crush you like one of those Hydraulic Press videos you watch on YouTube. Sometimes, the tunes get a little bluesy, as on the title track or "Tuesday Night Blues." Sometimes they just want to pummel you (as on "Ancient Aliens") and sometimes they want to take you on a journey, like the epic closer "Solar Rain." I also really enjoyed Track 2, "Death Perception," featuring additional vocals by Emma Naslund.

I haven't heard the band's first album, "Secrets of the Black Moon," but "Palm Reader" is so good that I'll be hunting that down soon. The band has learned a lot since that recording, at least according to various reports on the internet, due to their extensive touring with other doom/stoner bands, and the first album is reportedly quite different from this latest. But that's what "Palm Reader" has done to me. It's made me want more High Desert Queen now.

For more information, check out https://highdesertqueen.com/.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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