Following quickly on last year's stellar Ganglion Reef, LA's psych travelers Wand return with a harder version of their space-punk vision. Golem, like its predecessor, is fleshed out with sonic embellishments, flights of synth fancy and a general sense of kaleidoscopic overload, but this time the guitars bite with a touch more flash of the fangs and the blood they draw is a welcome wound. The band delves into heaviness on lead single "Self Hypnosis In 3 Days," blowing out the cortex with a pulsating, flayed quasar of rock that's ink black at its iris and burning so bright at the edges its heard to look, a trick they repeat with increased fire on "Cave In." The soft hum of acoustics adorn the respite "Melted Rope," shaking the sweat off of the surrounding crags for an all too brief moment before they delve into the back half of the record with a renewed fury that scorches the brain. They aren't really remapping their formula, which is great, I'm glad to see that someone has taken the mantle of prog-nerds and injected a razor edged soul to it; but they've definitely perfected what they were working up to last album and the further they delve into studio weirdness, the band threaten to crystallize that vision. Definitely creeping up our list of the best of 2015 yet and meeting all the expectations built up after last year.
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