Album of the Month

The debut full-length from Greek band Automaton is weighty, sludgy, coffin-lid-slamming Doom perfection.
(Read more)

Random band

Heavy drone/doom made from wandering bass notes only. Not all tracks can be considered doom....
(read more)

Were-Jaguars : II

An awesomely trippy combination of Stoner/Doom, Space-Rock and Prog Rock from the experimental Texan Were-Jaguars.

Whilst my tastes vary massively over time, and I tend to have long-standing flirtations with just about every musical genre known to man, there are three that have stood as tried and tested friends throughout my life. Alongside the rather obvious Doom Metal in this holy triumvirate of taste stand Progressive Rock and Space Rock. Falling well into these three categories, Were-Jaguars have therefore found a sympathetic ear right from the start.

Titled 'II', it seems safe to assume this is the second Were-Jaguars record, and interestingly this seems to be from a few years ago now, with a 'III' already available to listen to over on their Bandcamp. My review copy also came with a CD-R of a recent EP. I've yet to listen to either, but if they are anything like 'II', I honestly can't wait.

Although the words Progressive, Stoner, and Psychedelic are slung around freely in the bandcamp tags for this CD, I have added the Space Rock classification myself, as I can't think of anything this sounds closer to than the output of the USA's legends of the genre, Farflung. It has the same wonderful blend of free-form psychedelia that still seems to fall within a strong structure – loose and sometimes noodley, but always feeling like it is going somewhere, and frequently reaching great heights before falling back to chilled out moments that create a feeling of utmost bliss and relaxation.

I've had the CD on non-stop in my car all week, and it has made for some of the most pleasant commutes I have had in the last few months. Now though, listening for the first time at home on stereo of rather higher quality than that found in a 2003 Toyota, I find I am enjoying it even more. Like all great psychedelic music, there are many layers of fantastic sounds that drift in and out of audibility, even as I finally have the chance to truly appreciate it whilst drifting in and out of consciousness – something I try to avoid whilst at the wheel.

The only slight negative thing I have to say is that occasionally its loose (or should that be 35007) feel sometimes gets to such a level that it almost feels like everything is about to fall apart – see for example the chugging, driving riff of 'Let My Breath Be The Air', which occasionally feels like the instruments are all playing a slightly different pattern. Fortunately, it never really does, and leaves me perhaps wondering whether this was just further exploration of avant-garde that is a little too much for me to comprehend. Given that Were-Jaguars are clearly no strangers to experimentation, this may well be the case!

Despite it being one of my mainstays, it's been a while since I've listened to anything that was quite this psychedelic – I've been on one of my Prog kicks instead, but this has given me a timely reminder of why I love the genre so much – it just has a way of taking you on a far out journey to the edge of outer and inner space. I can't wait to delve into the rest of their back catalogue. One thing though – this needs to be on Spotify as it now feels like an empty space in my 60 hour + 'Trippy Atmospheres' playlist, alongside such greats as Hawkwind, Gong, Acid Mothers Temple and the aforementioned Farflung. and 35007.

I guess my only caveat has to be that this really isn't what most around these parts would class as Doom – and I'd probably have to agree. But at the end of the day, I absolutely love this, and I'm not about to knock marks off for the fact that maybe no other reader of this particular site will feel the same! Perhaps through luck, more likely through the good choices of our editor, Were-Jaguars have found their way into the hands of somebody totally receptive to their cause, and have gained a new evangelist in myself.

Click HERE to discuss this review on the doom-metal forum.

Reviewer's rating: 10/10


Tracklist :
1. Between The Armies
2. Nagual
3. Agalma
4. Transform Yourself
5. Let My Breath Be The Air
6. A Situation of Exposure
7. The Morbid Science Of Eternity
8. Bishop Kills Enchanter
9. Blurring Dead
10. Ecstatic Prayer Interrupted By Violence
11. Lost Soul
12. Agalmas
13. Divided, Alone

Duration : Approx. 68 minutes

Visit the Were-Jaguars bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-10-02 by Kris Clayton
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com