Album review: Dayhiker – Young Hunter

 

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If you’re looking for some new stoner/doom rock to get your head moving then Young Hunter may just be the band you’re looking for. Featuring duel male/female vocals, the band delivers a fine-ass desert-tinged rock groove that I enjoyed listening to. The production, courtesy of Tim Green (Wolves in the Throneroom and Melvins) adds extra value to the songs. Each instrument breathes true and the guitars really sing, like on opener, In The Shadow of the Serpent. This first track really sets the tone for the rest of the album, and if you dig this, then you will be stoked with the other tracks. The Feast begins ominously before settling into a riff a band like The Sword would be stoked to write. I also detected a bit of a Kyuss vibe on this one too. The verse is sang to a hypnotic guitar and the crooning chorus works well. Killer solo in this track, too. The bouncy Entered Apprentice has a glam 70s feel to it, almost as if it could come from an old Sweet or Marc Bolan album.

Hunger takes us back into riff-heavy doom waters before the guitars sing once again during Dark Age. Black Mass is the records longest track, coming in at over 9 minutes. It certainly doesn’t feel that long (which is a good thing, right?) and pulls together everything good the band has done in the previous tracks. The more reflective, acoustic Night Hiker adds some nice folky elements to things and is a cool, mellow way to finish.

There is a lot to like about Young Hunter. The musicianship is top-notch, vocals soothing and complementary to the music, and, Like I said earlier, the production really make the songs sing and it sounds great through a set of quality headphones. The seven tracks on offer leave this listener wanting to hear more from this talented band. Recommended.

Thanks to Magnetic Eye Records for sending me a digital copy of this record.

Young Hunter Press Photo 1

Young Hunter release 3rd album ‘Dayhiker,’ making old sounds fresh and new again.

At a time when humanity’s annihilation isn’t a far-flung concept, whether from devastating environmental forces or our culture’s seemingly masochistic need for self-destruction, music and communication often feel like the only hope for turning the tide.  Remembering who we are, discovering why we’re here, and finding connection with each other is our only hope, even though the hour feels late.

Enter Young Hunter, a band that evolved from a one-man project churning out tribal, psychotropic desert-doom to a collective of five individuals drawing from across the spectrum of stadium power rock, desert grooves, epic post-metal, and the rose-colored depths of mid-eighties high school rock radio.

With third album Dayhiker, Young Hunter complete their transformation into a force within the many-splintered world of 21st century heavy music.  Musically, the album traces a path through the darkness, confusion, and illusion of our times, transmuting them into a fire to confront feelings of fear and meaninglessness in the face of an uncertain future.

Lyrically, vocalist/guitarist Benjamin Blake isn’t afraid to ask the big questions:  Why are we here?  What is human culture?  What is its relationship to the natural world, and what critical pieces of human history have we forgotten?  Young Hunter dives into these themes with a sonic palette that harnesses the duality of male/female co-lead vocals.  Harmonies and call-and-response tradeoffs between Blake and keyboardist Sara Pinnell are omnipresent, helping convey a range of feelings and connections that make the darkness beautiful, the heaviness hopeful, and the sorrow both personal and universal.

Says Blake:  “Heavy music is inherently cathartic.  It’s a way for a room full of people to realize they’re not alone in their suffering, confusion, frustration, and anger.  And it’s beautiful because there’s no emotion that’s too intense for it.  On Dayhiker, that’s something we pushed ourselves to explore.”

Accessing and expanding the old-becomes-new-again cultural bent of artists like Sumerlands and Horisont and cinematic touchstones like Stranger Thingsand Stephen King’s IT, Young Hunter’s Dayhiker offers a more organic and primal strand in this increasingly attractive tapestry.

Written collectively and honed on the road, Dayhiker is Young Hunter’s first release on the Fear and the Void label.  It was recorded over the course of 5 days with Tim Green (Melvins, Wolves in the Throne Room, Comets on Fire) at Louder Studios, his analog retreat in Grass Valley, CA.

  • Benjamin Blake – Vocals, Guitar
  • Sara Pinnell – Vocals, Keys
  • Erik Wells – Guitar
  • Sam Dean – Bass
  • Grant Pierce – Drums

Dayhiker will be released on October 13th on vinyl LP and digital via Bandcamp.  Young Hunter’s tour in support of the new record takes place during October across the following dates:

10/12 – Eugene, OR – Old Nick’s
10/13 – Reno, NV – The Holland Project
10/14 – Santa Rosa, CA – Cooperage Brewing Company
10/15 – Oakland, CA – Feral
10/18 – Las Vegas, NV – The Griffin
10/19 – Flagstaff, AZ – Flagstaff Brewing Company
10/20 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
10/21 – Santa Fe, NM – Rufina Taproom
10/23 – Bisbee, AZ – The Quarry
10/25 – Los Angeles, CA – Lexington
10/26 – San Francisco, CA – SF Eagle
10/27 – Nevada City, CA – Cooper’s
10/28 – Bend, OR – M and J Tavern
10/29 – Portland, OR – Kenton Club

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