Columbus's Pale Grey Lore set to play Psych Fest
June 1st - Chicago Doomed and Stoned Festival (Reggies Rock Club)
June 2nd - State Street Pub (Indianapolis)
June 3rd - Jimmie's Ladder 11 (Dayton)
June 9th - Spacebar (Columbus)
June 22nd - Buzzbin Art and Music Shop (Canton)
June 30th - No Culture (Columbus)
July 14th - Spacebar (Columbus)
July 21st - Ohio Doomed and Stoned Fest (Buzzbin Art and Music Shop - Canton)
Sept 14th - Victory's Live (Columbus)
Since the emergence of fuzz-laden guitar, stoners everywhere have found refuge in its sizzling sonic atmosphere. One can only imagine the horrors of a fuzz-less world. I mean, if fuzz was never invented, would the late 60's even of happened? No doubt that distortion in the form of overdrive is fuckin awesome but we all need a bit of daze inducing fuzz to counterbalance overdrives warm embrace. Since our introduction to the fuzz box, rock n roll fans everywhere have come to appreciate this otherworldly entity and all of its sorcery; including Columbus's Pale Grey Lore.
I came across Pale Grey Lore while looking at the line up for May 18th's Columbus Psych Fest. It wasn't long after stepping into the spacious realm of their stoner-friendly self-titled debut album that I began to contract a contact high and an appetite for more of what they cooked up. Droning fuzz drenched guitar hovers ominously above sludgy rhythms whose fumes linger, reverberating through the dark landscapes you find yourself being led to. The spacey words of vocalist Michael Miller seem to resonate from within your own head. It's as if you've become part of a black magic ritual and on the way there you slipped a couple of tabs under your tongue. It's a psychedelic journey towards some promised higher truth, one whose sinister nature is revealed as you go deeper into the darkness.
The origin of Pale Grey Lore is rooted in the year 2014 when brothers Michael Miller (guitar/vocals) and Adam Miller (drums) recruited bass player Donovan Johnson. Their debut album was put onto disc and the digital market in 2016. Shortly thereafter, Xander Roseberry joined in on the sorcery adding another guitar and backup vocals to the mix. A year-ish later the tracks were pressed to vinyl and released by independent label Oak Island Records, an affiliate of German label Kozmik Artifactz. (vinyl available for purchase here).
In this corner of the music-sphere where everything is ripe with fuzz and the familiar sounds of those who came before us, it can be difficult to rise above the noise. Pale Grey Lore manages to pull it off though, and impressively so considering the band is in its early adolescent stage of life. It's not common for an artist's first release to feel fully realized, taking on a unique identity of its own. Pale Grey Lore, drawing inspiration from psych-rock, doom, 70's hard rock and likely some good budz, manages to create something that's distinctly them. They've unearthed some ancient and forgotten text of the occult and told us its lore through the sorcery of their music.
My metalhead friend Andy and I were just discussing the other day how metal is a genre where the focus of creating an album as a unified piece of art still seems to be valued. Once was a day where fans would listen to an album, front to back, the way it was intended to be heard instead of clicking through an artists top Spotify tracks or shuffling a playlist. In this day and age, its hard to not feel like many albums are just a collection of singles rather than a story composed by the tracks within it. Pale Grey Lore goes against this grain though, creating what feels like a journey. The pace and feel of the album shifts as each song takes you to the next chapter of the journey. But there is some underlying force, one that I can feel more so than hear, that ties it all together creating a sense of cohesion and identity.
The opening track, “The Conjuration”, may signify an awakening of the malevolent entity that pervades throughout the rest of the album. An eerie whirring in the atmosphere is disturbed by heavy guitar, spewing acidic sludge with an insinuation of certain doom. Crying wahs bring a sense of urgency that's almost uplifting.
“Life in the Hive” maintains that sense of urgency but takes a turn towards a more upbeat tempo. Howling Theremin lifts you up into its transcendental outro only to fall back down into the lair on doom-ridden track “Black Sun Rise”. Ozzy-esque vocals recite “See the black sunrise, against the crimson sky” painting a picture of apocalyptic magnitude.
I could do this for another six songs but you'll probably enjoy yourself more if you just listen to them.
This rollercoaster ride of an album keeps the groove going throughout its 32-minute playtime, never leading you to a dull moment. A great album carries with it a distinct vibe that meshes it all together. Pale Grey Lore have taken it a step further and created what feels like a different world, their music being the portal to it. Anyone who dwells in the fuzzy corner of rock music will at the very least appreciate what Pale Grey Lore has done. Through their high voltage practice of alchemy, they've created a well-balanced mixture of haunting and heavy rock music that should appeal to the tastes of even the most refined metal palettes.
Considering the quality and completeness of their first effort album, it's safe to say that these guys are worth keeping on the radar over the years to come. Set to play a few shows in Columbus this summer, there should be several opportunities to check them out live and see what they're really about. See their tour dates above.
1. The Conjuration
2. Life in the Hive
3. Black Sun Rise
5. She Radiates
7. Woe Betide Us
8. Tell the Masters
9. Grave Future