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Colour Haze - To The Highest Gods We Know CD (album) cover


Colour Haze


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3 stars Colour Haze is stoner/psychedelic rock band from Germany that have become legends in the underground rock scene in Europe. I am a bit puzzled by them being categorized as "krautrock" here in PA. Yes, they are from Germany and they do have slight krautrock influences, but their sound is more of a blend of 60's and 70s' psychedelic and hard rock. Guitarist and vocalist Stefan Koglek's playing style is a mix of Jimi Hendrix and Tony Iomi with a dash of jazz and Indian/Middle eastern influence. Manfred Merwald is an excellent drummer, bringing a jazzy, slightly busy (but not too busy) backbeat to the music. Finally, Philipp Rasthofer's low-end bass gives added warmth to their sound. Koglek's vocals need some getting used to, but, overall, are pretty good for a German singing in English. The band's songs vary from short and structured, to 20-plus minute opuses.

"To The Highest Gods We Know" is their 11th studio effort (the 1998 album "Seven" is missing on PA's list as of 2/28/2015) and finds the band pretty much where they left off on their previous album, "She Said." There are some added strings and horns here and there, but most of the songs cover the same territory. That's not to say the album isn't good ? it is. The album begins with "Circles," which starts off with quiet jamming, slowly building to a pure stoner/psychedelic blast of heaven. "Paradise" is the short, rocker on the disc. "Uberall" is another solid tune in the same vein as "Circles" with the slow build to a crescendo of heavy, low-end guitar, with the addition of strings. The fourth tune, "Call" is roughly six minutes of a lone, repeated guitar riff with soft vocal lines, before launching into another powerful eruption of high-energy, stoner riffage to close out the final 2 minutes of the song. The standout track is "To The Highest Gods We Know," which is an instrumental, Indian/Middle Eastern infused dose of psychedelia. The tune starts out with beautiful acoustic guitar work from Koglek, then intermittent strings and percussion add to the sonic tapestry skillfully woven together by the band. As the song closes, you are left relaxed and satisfied. But then, after a few minutes of silence, there is a reprise of "Call" (not included on track listing) lasting just over a minute.

While not their best effort, "To The Highest Gods We Know" is, all in all, a solid album by these stoner/psychedelic rock masters. I would probably recommend the album "All" as a starting point for newcomers to the band. However, "To The Highest Gods We Know" would make a great addition to the music collection of anyone who likes their rock laced with psychedelia, occasional heavy riffing, and lots of great guitar work.

Revised 4/26/2018

Since revisiting Colour Haze's back catalogue after not hearing it for awhile, I have to knock off 1 star on my review for "To the Highest Gods We Know." While I still consider it a solid release, it does not hold up as well to much of their previous works. It also does not hold up as well to their most recent release "In Her Garden," which is much better.

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Posted Saturday, February 28, 2015 | Review Permalink

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