Samsara Blues Experiment – End Of Forever (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 51:11 minutes | 602 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © World In Sound
Two weeks ago, German heavy psychedelic rockers Samsara Blues Experiment announced they would be going on indefinite hiatus. Fair enough. 2020 makes it a decade since the band made their full-length debut with the jammy fluidity of Long-Distance Trip, a record that in no small part would define listener expectation from them even as they went on almost immediately to more progressive work. They’d already toured the US by then, hitting the West Coast in 2009 on the heels of their demo (discussed here, review here), and though they wouldn’t North American shores apart from two more shows in 2015, the years since they stopped through have not lacked adventure.
Even as they moved from a four-piece to the trio of guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Christian Peters, bassist/backing vocalist Hans Eiselt and drummer Thomas Vedder, a strong European and South American touring presence helped establish them as one of Germany’s foremost post-Colour Haze heavy psych acts, and an indelible commitment to evolving sonically, to never releasing the same album twice, assured they would reach almost immediately beyond their starting point. For however long “indefinite” may last, they’ll be missed, and in End of Forever, they leave behind a final document that summarizes the mindset that has defined them by doing precisely what they’ve done all along: moving forward.
Comprised of seven songs (six plus a bonus track) and running a total of 51 minutes, End of Forever was recorded in the plague-addled summer of 2020 with former bassist Richard Behrens at the helm at Big Snuff Studio. It follows three years behind 2017’s One with the Universe (review here) and likewise sees release through Peters‘ Electric Magic Records. That album was defined perhaps inevitably in no small part by its consuming 15-minute title-track, and End of Forever does share some aspects with it, in terms of performance, the winding style of riff that emerges in “End of Forever” itself — indeed, the riff in question, which first emerges at 1:14 into the song’s 7:56 run, would seem to be a purposeful self-reflective nod toward Samsara Blues Experiment‘s early days, and maybe a thank-you card to fans as well — and in the organic production sound.
But End of Forever is distinguished from its immediate predecessor as well as 2013’s Waiting for the Flood (review here) and 2011’s Revelation and Mystery (review here) for how it works in conversation with Peters‘ solo explorations of synth and keyboards. Working under the moniker of Surya Kris Peters, the guitarist — also relocated to Brazil — has been prolific to the point of a creative explosion, with four outings this year to his credit, the latest of which was September’s Leaving Berlin EP.
From the outset of End of Forever in 11-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Second Birth,” Samsara Blues Experiment make it known that such elements are by no means off limits when it comes to the personality and atmosphere to be established across this album, and while it’s an Eiselt bassline that launches the record and a smooth jam that takes hold, the synth line the sneaks in along with Vedder‘s drums and the guitar is telling of what’s to follow in terms of the album’s ability to create a melodic wash, often with keyboard and synth working together alongside guitar.
As it nears the five-minute mark, a funky progression of bass, soulful lead guitar and drums takes hold, and ’70s-style Hammond soon enters the fray to set up the arrival of a verse. The song moves through a hook into denser-toned riffing, bringing the organ along for good measure, and hits a thrilling culmination circa 9:30 topped by Peters‘ vocals before making its way out in grand fashion. As the leadoff, it’s a journey unto itself, and it does much to affect the vibe for the rest of the offering, but it’s also not necessarily giving everything away up front.
1. Second Birth (10:59)
2. Massive Passive (06:00)
3. Southern Sunset (06:47)
4. Lovage Leaves (04:18)
5. End Of Forever (07:56)
6. Orchid Annie (08:24)
7. Jumbo Mumbo Jumbo (Bonustrack) (06:48)