Psychedelic music can have a serious effect on a listener whether they’re intoxicated or not. You don’t have to be high to feel like you’re swirling through the cosmos or that the walls are reverberating on their own — good tripped out breakdowns and hazy riffs will do all that for you.
This is ever the case with Ecstatic Vision’s debut album, “Sonic Praise.” The heady five-track effort takes the listener on a colourful journey through layers of screaming guitar, swelling bass, brawny rhythm and fuzzed-out vocals. Simultaneously pure ecstasy at times and deeply unsettling during others, the album’s ability to evoke emotion so intensely is a testament to well-crafted arrangements and the musical prowess of the band.
Ecstatic Vision’s influences are clearly heard on Sonic Praise. The Philadelphia-based band, only together for just a year, refers to the spacey atmospherics of Led Zeppelin, most particularly with epic solos, walloping percussion, and squealing organs on “Cross The Divide.“ The evocative trance of Hawkwind, too, is heard on the title track, through gloomy undercurrents and mind-warping textures.
Though each song breaks the five-minute mark, the album’s most ambitious moment is definitely on “Astral Plane” — a 12-and-a-half-minute opus of riffy, astronomical mysticism that shifts into a drum-and-bass groove somewhere in the middle and works its way through to blistering climax of shrieking instruments. This shift — and Ecstatic Vision’s capability of pulling it off — shows that prog-rock need not be monotonous to be effective and that it is certainly possible to induce a hallucinogenic state without dropping aid.
Ecstatic Vision plays the Commodore Ballroom on September 25.