Album Review: Sky Is Hell Black by Has A Shadow

In the past musical trends have tended to be broadly geographical: the Merseybeat scene, West Coast Flower Power, German Krautrock, NY Punk, Coventry’s Two Tone, Madchester – I could go on. One of the amazing things about the current psychedelic scene, however, is that it is truly global. Facilitated by social networking and the digital music revolution, there are psych bands springing up everywhere; and for some reason I seem to be particularly drawn to bands from what we call ‘Latin America’, and especially from the two extremes of that area. I love bands from the Santiago, Chile psych scene, most notably Föllakzoid and the Holydrug Couple and witness an amazing set by Mexico’s Lorelle Meets The Obsolete at last year’s Liverpool PsychFest.

has a shadow

I can now add another Mexican band to my ‘must see’ list. Has A Shadow originally released Sky Is Hell Black on Captcha Records in November last year, but it is now getting a European vinyl release on Fuzz Club Records; and this is how I have come across it.

The album was actually recorded in 2012 by the three piece, in the childhood home of the bass player Victor ‘Remi’ Garay. Other members are Rodolfo Samperio (guitar) and Daniel Garciano (guitar, organ and vocals). The album was recorded and mixed by Alberto Gonzalez, also known as “The Obsolete” from Lorelle Meets The Obsolete.

This feels like a very claustrophobic album: inward looking and fuzzy. It is not the sort of music that you can listen to and think of grand vista and distant horizons. Rather you get the feeling of being boxed in, perhaps in a dark foggy hollow, with people of like-minded persuasion plotting nothing in particular.

Yes this album is dark, it is drone, and it is diabolically good. The vocal reminds me of a cross between Föllakzoid and Holydrug Couple, but there are also elements of all sorts of Krautrock, Prog, and 60s Garage with a good helping of early Jesus and Mary Chain too.

In short this is a great psychedelic album if you like your trips to be veiled and spacey. It is not a trip round the cosmos, but rather around the inner self; and after listening to it if you do feel like popping your head up for light and air, you’ll soon be taking a deep breathe and getting back in there for more.



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