I'm sure more than a few of you out there remember the brilliant 1974 film 'Deliverance' directed by John Boorman (if you've never seen it then do so). Apart from the dark subject matter, what was brilliantly portrayed and filmed was the remote US wilderness and the people who inhabit it. If you were to take that film and combine it with any number of more recent films (‘Wrong Turn’, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ remake etc) that deal with swampy, backwater, brooding areas of darkness and dread and you wanted to get a metal band to supply some music then you could do far worse than Potergeist. Of course, most modern day Hollywood cinema is not a patch on the classics and that's why I've mentioned both. Potergeist are the embodiment of a modern day southern metal band but they also do it with a huge amount of quality.
What really surprised me on reading the blurb is that this five piece don't originate from the US but from Athens, Greece and 'Crocodile Tears' is their fourth album. Apparently, they started out sounding more like Down and Kylesa and have gradually evolved. Whilst those influences are still there, they now combine them with huge swathes of Black Label Society, Texas Hippie Coalition and Monster Magnet and have even dubbed their genre of music as 'Swamp Metal'. It's an apt title because Potergeist have delivered an album full of enormously catchy and heavy riffs that have risen from Lake Placid, coupled with huge, gritty and impassioned vocals forged from the camp fires of Camp Crystal. Vocalist Alex S.Wamp has a huge set of pipes and sounds a lot like Zakk Wylde in places. If you add the crushing guitars of Nick XP and Stratal, plus the formidable rhythm partnership of bassist Kostis Vihos and excellent drummer Tolis Toleas to the mix then you have a band that could stop Leatherface or The Toxic Avenger in their tracks!
'Swamp Muse Summoning' is a very short call to action that sets the album in motion and then every song hits you with a crushing but commercial bolt to the head. 'Visit From A Swampire' is an early highlight that should have you stomping from the off. 'Atonement', 'The Preacher And The Witch' and 'What Then' all sizzle with the cooked underbelly of rotted flesh, washed down with some moonshine. 'Eve' sounds like Motorhead would do if Lemmy had been born in Louisiana and not Stoke-On-Trent and the title track, with its rolling drums, sounds as if it could be used in a montage sequence; well, it would if someone was escaping from quicksand!
I really wasn't expecting Potergeist to sound like this, or indeed be so flipping good so I'm now off to a cabin in the woods to be tortured mercilessly and atoned for my sins. In the meantime, I urge you lot to cook some bloody steak, open a bottle of bourbon and put a copy of 'Crocodile Tears' on the stereo. You won't be disappointed.
Review by Rick Tilley
1st June 2015
1) Swamp Muse Summoning
2) Crocodile Tears
3) Visit From a Swampire
4) What Then
7) The Preacher and the Witch
9) Last Punk Standing
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Potergeist are the embodiment of a modern day southern metal band but they also do it with a huge amount of quality."