Confusion Master - Haunted

26 Dec 2021 - Thorsten

Psychedelic Doom, Sludge, Stoner Rock | Exile On Mainstream | Release date: 19 Nov 2021

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Sometimes we get promos and by looking at the combination of label and mentioned genre, of artist roots and band comparisons that this could be something right up one’s alley. To give you those cornerstones for this band: Exile On Mainstream – Doom – Punk – Ufomammut/Black Shape Of Nexus. And when you then realize that you saw that band a few years ago, then there is even a kind of need to write a review for their upcoming record, right? Therefore, this review must be about Confusion Master and their second record Haunted.

Confusion Master from Germany’s North-East released released their debut in 2018 also via Exile On Mainstream, this gem of a riff-driven label run by one of the most loyal and expert people in the business, Andreas Kohl. When he releases a record, everybody can be sure that the release fulfills any demands for the highest quality possible. So that means – box one is ticked.

The sound on Haunted is filled with reminders of why Electric Wizard and Black Shape of Nexus were such awesome bands: One can easily trace the doom influences in the highly variable pace of the songs, but the songs never become too fast, there are often close to uptempo but never really go there (that is pretty obvious in the opening track ”Viking X”). That is also very interesting because of the band members’ roots (more on that later). The songs also always slow down at exactly the right moment – here the middle part in said opening track also serves as a good example. The other noteworthy thing here is the sound – for the tracks recorded in different sessions throughout the pandemic – are really brimful with distortion and riffs. However, the distortion is somewhat warm and that also defines the whole sound of the band! It has this warm, somehow psychedelic-tinged sound, which really has this welcoming effect. James Plotkin’s mastering surely has a hand in this intriguing sound and mix. Second box filled.

The musical roots of the band members are somewhere diverse, even though some of the bands they played in before had some doom going for them. Nevertheless, some band members also have roots in grindcore or electronic ambient music. But that also indicates that they are able to think outside their box and that they have an understanding for music and songwriting that goes beyond a certain genre. Such artistic “openness” is a good thing, ain’t it? That is the third box ticked.

Last but not least those comparisons: One could draw a lot of them. One obvious one is Ufomammut and their swirling, heavy psychedelia. The other one is Black Shape of Nexus who also had this low-tuned, bass-driven noise-rock mixed with doomy and gloomy parts. The general color of Haunted is a dark, dark gray, very close to black, but due to the psychedelia there is also this slight tinge of red at the horizon.

Confusion Master was part of the amazing Exile on Mainstream-special at Roadburn 2019 and they served an amazing set, with Haunted they will surely continue attracting new listeners to their mix of doom and psychedelia. Be careful to watch this band!