King Buffalo - Acheron

05 Mar 2022 - Daniel R.

Psychedelic Rock, Heavy Rock, Blues Rock | Stickman Records | Release date: 03 Dec 2021

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The Covid-19 pandemic has sucked. It’s affected bands in many different ways, some have unfortunately decided to call it a day, some have gone on hiatus and others have delayed album releases and tours.

King Buffalo have however, thankfully, have been very busy, releasing a live album, two studio albums, a studio EP and a live EP since March 2020. The second album in a trilogy, Acheron, was released in December last year and they’re looking into hopefully releasing the third album, still to be recorded or given a title at this point, later this year.

The band hasn’t exactly been known for shying away from songs on the longer side of things and this album doesn’t change that, nor would I want them to, with the four songs each over nine minutes coming in at a grand total of eight seconds over the forty minute mark.

Don’t fear though – this is not an obtuse album that bores the listener but it’s also not exactly for those that prefer catchy short songs with a verse-chorus-verse-bridge-key change-final chorus-structure either. However, as said before don’t fear, this is not an aimless and meandering album, the songs always make their way back to their goal, soothingly and seamlessly, ebbing and flowing, moving things along until the song’s end. What has changed with this album though, is that they have added more space within the songs, with fewer vocals and in turn giving room for echoing guitar lines, mellowed out bass runs, some keyboard and extended solo sections. The production by Grant Husselman on this album is crisp, and it helps the instruments to still have that warm and classic feel, which adds to the somewhat retro yet forward-thinking and bluesy sound of Acheron.

Sean McVay’s vocals have never been at the forefront of the band’s music and they aren’t on this album either, the album’s mix reflects this well and it really allows the songs to become their own, without relying on any one aspect.

With some bands, it feels like they’re making you sit in the eye of a storm, watching what’s going on around you. With others, you’re being battered by the storm itself. But with King Buffalo and Acheron, you’re sat in a calm desert at night, with no knowledge of what a storm is, staring up into the star-filled sky, pondering life and loving every vibing, psychedelic minute, which is no mean feat for an album recorded 100 feet underground in a cave.

Let’s all hope that the band is able to complete their trilogy of album releases as they have planned. If Acheron is any indication of the quality and direction the band is headed in, then we’re all in for a treat.