In the world of the musically obsessed there is no finish line. One does not ever reach some point where all great albums or bands have been acquired or appreciated, or even just discovered. And then there is that most vexing of phenomena where one is fully aware of a band for years, even decades, but somehow fails to explore the material. Back the late ‘90s/early ‘00s heyday of stoner/desert rock, Acid King released “Busse Woods” on probably the most iconic label of the time, Man’s Ruin Records. I used to see that album on a website I frequented, yet I don’t remember ever hearing tracks from it. If I did, I apparently wrote them off due to some cosmic wrong time/wrong place misfortune. For a misfortune it was, and 16 years later I was made all too aware I’d missed the boat.
“Middle of Nowhere” is no ordinary stoner album. The guitar tone is fucking immense, and it never, ever lets up; but what really makes this record is something less tangible. It’s what was described to me as a “slow burn” by a friend and music mentor. These songs all hover around the same level, none of them ever going off in an unexpected direction. Their speed doesn’t vary much. And through this consistency, one gets the sense of a persistent flame of doom that calmly but relentlessly smolders.
The record is bookended by the same intro/outro, an approach I often like for the way it ties everything together. In between, every song is great, but the first one that really grabs attention is “Coming Down From Outer Space.” This track has a murderously swaying groove, the aural equivalent of clinging to a wooly mammoth as it thunders across the tundra. Lori S’s vocal is rather hypnotic here and, combined with the thudding riffs, leaves you beaten and reeling. “Laser Headlights” is crushing for sure, but my preference is for “Red River,” a punishing dirge that slowly grinds everything in its path to dust. Ultimately, though, it was “Center of Everywhere” that rose to the top as my favorite. This colossal beast of a song unfurls a godlike drone of unearthly riffage that would set the universe aflame if we broadcast it into space, and would collapse more than a few stars and planets along the way.. True black hole doom.
I guess Acid King is a case of better late than never for me, but I will most certainly be paying closer attention from now on. Now, anyone wanna sell me an out-of-print copy of “Busse Woods” for anything less than a small fortune?
Experience your doom: https://acidking.bandcamp.com/album/middle-of-nowhere-center-of-everywhere