Much like the spread of extreme metal that has made its way around the world into what feels like every country on the planet, the modern phenomenon known as heavy psychedelic rock is transformed the landscape in many scenes for one reason or another with names like King Buffalo, Elder, and Naxatras simply being some of the bigger names to have sprouted from the influence of Stoned Jesus, Kyuss, Tool, and many others. But now, in the corners of the world where one normally wouldn’t look for quality in such a sound, the curious find real treasure. Columbia is no different with one of their best-kept secrets, Samán, coming back to us with their second full-length album the realization of such wonder that one could only hope for.
Psychedelia is very much a dial depending on what band you’re dealing with. Some like to crank it as far as it can be turned while others find harmony in a more mild, mellow approach that allows plenty of other aspects of heavy psych to come through in order to show us how dynamic the sound has always been as well as what it’s still capable of. In no way could I have ever dared to expect Samán would be the name to deliver such excellence when I first took a step upon the path of “II. Montaña Roja”, but it’s after losing myself in these nine tracks hour after hour that I find myself humbled by what this quartet is able to bring forward. A devilish mix of heaviness that always knows when to precisely pull back for maximum effect while always retaining an immense level of smoothness that combines magnificently with occasional aggression that makes for several layers of contrast at any given moment, Samán has really crafted something exceptional with this effort. This is the kind of experience that heavy psychedelic rock has always been made for despite its many different forms, and it’s only on occasion that we get a creation that comes even close to what’s been accomplished here that is brought together on such an exquisite level that it’s all but viciously compelling no matter how many times you listen to it. Throw in that additional minor flair of the entire album sung in Spanish and how could one possibly resist the quality and allure of “II. Montaña Roja”?
This is the kind of record that bands of this style can only ever hope to make if they make all the right moves at all the right points, but that’s what helps make this record such a wonder to begin with. Every possible opportunity for greatness was taken with extreme happiness without failure, and Samán should be extremely proud of what they’ve brought forth here. All that is “II. Montaña Roja” is an unfiltered embodiment of what new blood can really do for this growing sound, and I couldn’t be any happier to see this name as one that pushes the sound to be the best that it could possibly be.
LISTEN to “II. Montaña Roja” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Samán on Facebook here.