Bantoriak- Weedooism

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bantoriak is the project of Italian musician Izio Orsini, who mixes together elements of heavy psych, doom and older psychedelic rock influences together. For his debut full length Weedooism Orsini collaborated with Eremite drummer Fabio and vocalists Rosy and Giacomo, recording everything on vintage instruments to create a sound that recalls the 70s variants of their respective genres. Based on the album name I had gone into this one expecting your run of the mill Electric Wizard clone or stoner/desert rock band, but found something much closer to the softer haze and spiritual vibe of the genre. It’s an intriguing effort that grabs listeners with strong hooks fairly quickly but lets them end a little too quickly, making it feel as though this is merely a warm up for what is still to come.

Weedooism wastes no time in trying to create a hazier trancelike sound, as opener “Entering the Temple” starts things off with a thick atmosphere and chanting that establishes just what type of atmosphere Orsini is aiming for with this recording. From there the guitars take over and establish a sound that is somewhere between 70s heavy psych and some of the more recent doom artists that have gone for a more atmospheric, sprawled out approach. Bantoriak does a great job of building that hazier melodic sound early and then letting it expand into fuller textures as the songs progress, and like some of the better artists of this type I felt like the material was taking me on a journey with each riff. Although there are contributions from guest singers Rosy and Giacomo, vocals aren’t a defining trait of the music offered here. Instead, their singing ebbs and flows across the instrumentals and act as another layer of the sound rather than the primary focus, which allows you to give attention to all of the elements at work rather than simply focusing on the vocals the entire time.

For the most part, the instrumentals move between softer haziness that has a breezier, introspective feel and guitar riffs that up the fuzz and distortion and take on a heavier sound. A little over halfway in things get shook up considerably with the addition of “Hidden Number Two,” which takes a much darker and twisted turn from the rest of the record. Ominous sounding vocals and electronics fade in and out of the background, building up to an atmosphere that has a sense of dread mixed in with the trancelike sound the rest of the release provides. It’s an interesting piece that deviates significantly from the rest of Weedooism but still fits in perfectly, and this slightly darker direction is one I’d like to see Bantoriak explore more in the future. However, despite the fact that there are standout moments like this during the course of the album it feels as though several of them were cut short. The entire effort only runs for about 27 minutes in length, and while the flow of each song allows it to be experienced as an entire body of work there are several riffs that I felt ended before they truly reached their peak level. It’s because the atmosphere was so enticing that I wanted more of it, and I believe that if Orsini wanted to branch outwards and write ten minute plus songs that he could easily pull it off.

I really like what Bantoriak has to offer on Weedooism, as the hazy, mysterious heavy psych sound mixed in with some occasional darker tones and spaced out vocals. But at the same time, because the songs have such strong hooks right from the very start it feels like they aren’t always given the time to fully expand and reach their peak level. This is still an album I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in heavy psych or psychedelic rock in general, but I suspect that the best is still to come from Bantoriak and Izio Orsini, especially if he stretches his ideas out further and really lets the sprawling trancelike layers of sound to completely take over.

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