Nighthawk – Structures On the Moon (Sliptrick Records)

Monday, 18th December 2023
Rating: 6.5 / 10

The power trio format has massive appeal when playing in the stoner, psychedelic style – especially in the realms of hard rock and heavy metal. That’s the platform US artists Nighthawk build from on this seven track outing Structures On the Moon. Over the course of this twenty-one-minute timeframe, you’ll hear a mixture of fuzzed out material where the purity of guitar play, bass, and drums comes together next to a distant vocal presence, beyond instrumentals that test the dimensions of sonic parameters in these subgenres.

The vocal build-up on the doomy “Buried Alive (Shattered Sky)” allows guitarist Mark V Madsen to ring out his chord progressions in a dirty, far-reaching manner, executing two distinct lead breaks (one speedy, one thoughtful) to inject a diverse energy to the normal musical foundation. Alternative picking goes in tandem with a simplified steady backbeat for “Hand Puppets Maiden”, the caveman-like effects vocally allowing the natural hooks to cement themselves easier into the cranium. There’s a sense of contemplation or meditative movements abound – where the listener can close their eyes to transport themselves to a sound with past decades previous influence top of mind. “All Along the Watchtower” vibes come to the forefront on the 89 second “The Middleman’s Universe (Short)”, while the extra cut “Supa-a-star” soothes the conclusion of the record as a guitar-oriented jam instrumental piece, showcasing more of Mark’s bluesy meets psychedelic/doom/stoner rock fusion approach to the instrument. The production values appear to be very DIY and low-budget – which could be a deal breaker for some, as this scribe felt a stronger attention to detail would have paid bigger dividends in the final aural appeal.

Given this is a freshman effort for the group, Structures On the Moon should be a launching pad effort to build upon over the next recording. May Nighthawk spread their wings to fly gracefully in the future.

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