Smolyk by Petyr

Release date: June 1, 2018
Label: Outer Battery Records

Skateboarding and rock music have long been comfortable bedfellows with the great (Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies) giving way to the not so great sounds (Limp Bizkit and its bastard offspring, sports metal). Whatever your taste though, the common denominator has been one of punky energy and speed, so it is with an inquisitive curiosity that we find Petyr, a band fronted by pro-skateboarder Riley Hawk, taking the route down the psychedelic tones of Earthless and Harsh Toke.

Grinding their way out of the San Diego scene, which in recent years has seen a blossoming of like-minded bands discovering the delights of the jam band ethos, Petyr’s secod album Smolyk is a non-stop orgy of psychedelic riffs and liquid guitar runs. Taking their cue not just from peers such as Earthless and Joy but also from the usual suspects (Black Sabbath as always), they offer nothing new to the scene whatsoever, other than a vital injection of much needed energy. Where many of their peers tend to drift into repetitive meandering, Petyr never take more than the needed time to tell their tale.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than on the opening title track, a track of four parts, and named in part after skateboarding legend Peter Smolik, it contains short bursts of riffs interlaced with the wonderful guitar sound which pulls you ever onwards in its trip. Before you know it, they have ripped through it all with an absolute freedom. Not a note is wasted as they tightly control the jams into a furious ball of energy.

It’s almost a relief when you get to ‘Sunrise Double’, which allows the music to open up into more classic metal territory. There is more than a hint of Sabbath’s melodic grind as the song builds to its climax. There are vocals but these are almost an afterthought, and bring to mind a young Paul Di’Anno which adds to the sense of time displacement brought on by the music.

Elsewhere we get the breakneck ‘Salt Lake’, which is more invigorating than dropping a wrap of speed into a can of Hooch and necking it. The we get ‘Grease ’em All’, which drops you off at a roadside bar full Hells Angels with its full on dirty riff, all pumped up rock and roll and nervy attitude, only to then beat you into submission with the rolling bass of ‘Zero Time (Dark)’. By now the album has ratcheted up an intense energy not seen often in heavy psych circles, leaving you clutching on for dear life, as all great garage bands should. And that is what they are essentially, a garage rock band injected with a heavy dose of blues doom.

Whilst Petyr are breaking no rules with their music, they nonetheless, are a neat little package of noise. Smolyk is an album which never lets up in its intensity and as you get pulled along by the fantastic riffs and guitar runs, you can sense the freedom that comes with flying hell for leather a few inches from the tarmac, on a board of wood. The wheels are set loose on Petyr with this album, and they can claim their place amongst their peers on the San Diego scene as the rude, noisy awakening, when all around are still lost in space.

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