Birth Of Joy – Prisoner

February 20, 2014
by Tjeerd van Erve

During the mid-nineties, a few members of the then world-dominating Seattle music scene met in rehab, trying to kick the habit and came out of it forming Mad Season. A group that would blend that dirty grunge punk feel with more sixties orientated psychedelics on their sole album, Above. A classic, if not the least because of that one tormented line by Layne Staley, My pain is self-chosen, at least I believe it to be. Then, the needle dug deeper into the flesh. When listening to Birth Of Joy my thoughts keep wandering off to the monsters of rehab.

Not because this trio has been in a constant haze of alcohol, heroine and cocaine, but it seems these two bands share musical roots. It’s the same cocktail of hard rock, punk and nuggets, with a rough blues lick from time to time. Birth Of Joy seem to be finding inspiration in The Doors, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, as much as The Stooges and a plain old, flat-out rock sweat session. The core of the sound is a pumping Hammond organ played at full throttle, supported by the screaming guitar of Kevin Stunnenberg. His vocals sometimes sound like a mixture of Cobain and a hoarse Staley. (I thought he wanted to be the Lizard King. He seemed to want to a few years’ back – Richard) Convincingly strong, rough-edged psychedelic rock is the result.

Which brings me to another nineties legend, Motorpsycho. The way the Utrecht-based band taps into to their sixties and seventies roots, is comparable to the way the Norwegians have branched out these same roots the last ten to fifteen years. With an obvious love for the early years of hardrock, progrock and psychedelic rock, they have gradually building on their unique sound. On their third album Birth Of Joy really manage to get this distinctive sound. Taking different parts of rock’s rich past and moulding those into something new, they might indeed be the new millennium’s stars, as they themselves claim in Prisoner, the opening song.

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