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Isaak: The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound

Reviewed By: Andrew Carver
Label: Small Stone
Format: CD

Back in 2012, Gandhi’s Gunn as Isaak were originally known caught the ear of venerable U.S. stoner rock specialists Small Stone with their sophomore album, ‘The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound’.

The hirsute-in-spirit if not on chin quartet from Genoa, Italy, have since signed up for two albums with the label, and fans of fuzz (facial or otherwise) now have an opportunity to hear whether the newly expanded and remastered album makes the cut.

The group makes no bones about their deep love for Clutch and Fu Manchu, and certainly get things motoring along nicely with ‘Haywire’; the band has a strong vocalist in Hobo and a hefty rhythm section.

The band also knows when to change things up, following punchy numbers like ‘Under Siege’ and ‘Breaking Balance’ with the drifting intro and hushed vocals of the eight-minute ‘Flood’, which slowly builds to a thunderous climax.

The eastern grooves of ‘Hypotesis’ led the original album to a spaced out finish, but buyers of the Small Stone edition also get to hear a pair of covers get pushed into the red.

Pink Floyd’s ‘Fearless’ gets a 90-second trim and some exhortatory shouting in place of the original ‘disappointed parent’ vocals, while Judas Priest’s ‘Wrathchild’ is beefed up from the already fairly beefy original.

The final two tracks, ‘The Right Time’ and ‘Isolation 2.0’ both clock around the two-and-a-half minute and seem to presage a harder rocking sound for the band on their next album.

‘The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound’ is definitely an excellent addition to the Small Stone catalogue, and a sign of good things to come from Isaak.

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