[CD Review] Nebula, 'Peel Sessions' (Sweet Nothing Records)

Nebula records have a way of disappearing from collections. Sticky-fingered friends wander off with them through the haze, or they get borrowed only to vanish into someone else’s heavy rotation. Such is the plight of the stoner-rock fan.

Even if you’ve managed to hang on to Charged and Atomic Ritual (the two albums on which most of these tracks originally appeared), there is ample sonic reason to revisit the noise with this release. Something about the sorta-live/sorta-studio versions that the BBC gets out of bands produces songs that finely balance attention to detail with the gusto of a live performance. Here, Nebula sound as loose and lysergic as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, bleeding big, morphing guitar all over exciting, almost reckless rhythms. Eddie Glass leads like the rock masters of yore, stomping through his effects pedals so hard that he sounds like eight guitarists in each song. Under all those wailing squeals and dense chord rumbles is Ruben Romano, a drummer so dynamic his work would make a rad record on its own. The Peel Sessions finds him ripping the hell out of these songs—Mitch Mitchell and Keith Moon have to be high-fiving as they look down upon this. The intro to “Instant Gratification” would wear out most drummers, but he follows Glass’ lead and gets bigger as the amps get louder.

Calling this stoner metal sells it short; there’s an implied simplicity with that tag. Nebula prove here—on a record that serves as a great introduction for newcomers—that while they look unflinchingly back to the heavy psychedelic masters for inspiration, they can sit right next to them.

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