An eruption of Italian rock that can only be described as Supermothafuzzalicious!!
Heavy Psych Sounds
The Black Rainbows are an incredibly innovative heavy rock band hailing from Rome, Italy. As a power trio formed in 2007, they combine brute force with melodic elegance through the talents of guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori, drummer Alberto Croce and bassist Giuseppe Guglielmino. The group have recorded and released five full-length albums with Stellar Prophecy as their latest edition to the family. Over the years their sound has progressed from the aggressive nature of Blue Cheers, MC5 and Black Sabbath to a more melodic construction in tune with Monster Magnet, Hawkwind and Fu Manchu. Live, they are a force to be reckoned with, charging the stage with full-throttle volume, brain-damaging distortion and high-octane energy. We caught up with the band during their European tour and found them charismatic, chatty and ready to rock.
“We’re excited to play the Freak Valley Festival on this tour,” says Gabriele Fiori. “We toured with Naam from New York in 2011 and played the Vortex in Siegen - the club that Jens from Freak Valley manages. Then we came back in 2015 to headline the club. We always stayed in touch with Jens. Also the record label Heavy Psych Sounds has been coming to this festival to sell merchandise for a couple years. It’s a simple case of our hobby turning into a full-time job.” Fiori also owns and operates Heavy Psych Sounds Records with a roster of twenty bands including genre-defining Ape Machine, Cosmic Wheels, Karma To Burn and Nick Olivieri’s Mondo Generator. “It is my full-time job - through the weekends, holidays with no time off. But it is my passion, so the work is what I love and enjoy doing all the time.”
Black Rainbows is currently on the road promoting Stellar Prophecy, a furious mountain of fuzzed-out feedback and rattling rhythms. Having paid homage to Hawkwind with last year’s Hawkdope, the new opus explores an equal portion of fuzz rock, ‘70s rock, and space rock. “The band has been around nine years,” continues Fiori. “We do what we like - meaning we play music that is a combination of our varied influences. We are very influenced by bands like Hawkwind, Sabbath, Fu Manchu and Nebula but we try to put our own stamp on it, make our own sound, of course. We do play with the equipment like the amps and cabinets, you know, try new things. But we are not inventing anything new. We like a certain kind of sound and we stick with it. My gear set up is fairly straight-forward, Hiwatt head and 100 watt cabinets. I use a Fulltone Octafuzz pedal through a Les Paul SG.”
The rhythm section is key to the band’s sound. “I personally come from a metal background,” says bassist Giuseppe Guglielmino. “In the beginning when we jammed together we discovered that we fuse together with the same musical language. We might try different things because we do not have the exact same influences, but in this band we find our perfect footing. We try to construct a solid background for Gabriele to work with. The rhythm section is like a train moving along and supporting the guitar so that he (Gabriele) can add his poetry and melodic phrasing to the composition.” From the new platter Stellar Prophecy that landscape can easily be heard in the power-driven “Woman” and space trippin’ “The Travel”. “I use an Ampeg cabinet with head for my setup and an old Russian Big Muff distortion pedal at full volume.”
Though the new songs retain the raw, fuzzy, traditional Black Rainbow sound, they are well constructed with a great catchy chorus, and conservative phrasing for dynamic impact. “We try to do our best with every composition,” says drummer Alberto Croce. “We want each song or idea to be fully developed. We came from different backgrounds so there’s always going to be some friction. I’m a jazz drummer. I listen to Jimmy Cobb, Billy Cobham, Buddy Miles but also Elton John and Devo. I love the way we blend together different elements into our music. A big drum sound is the roots of what we do. I love Tool, for me Danny Carey is one of the best rock drummers in the world, a guy with no limits. There is also Nick Menza, when he played with Megadeth. That was a time I was learning drumming and so he lives in my heart.”
Supermetalfuzzalicious is the perfect description of Black Rainbows. They bring together a mixture of space rock, stoner and heavy psych with excitement and profound musicianship. Their unique combination of style and sounds is what makes the quality of their fuzz rock in league with Dozer, Greenleaf and Nightstalker. “Fuzz and heavy psych are important elements of this band,” says Fiori. “They were a part of the creation of rock since the first distortion pedal was invented. We like to use it to expand the possibilities and modern heavy rock. With Stellar Prophecy we spent time writing the songs, concentrating on the compositions, reworking them to get just the right vibe. It came together in just the right way and we are very proud of its acceptance by the fans.” We add our support behind Stellar Prophecy calling it easily one of our top picks for 2016. It is the universal picture of what this band is all about!
Website: Black Rainbows, Heavy Psych Sounds Records