Acid King- Beyond Vision

by | Mar 24, 2023 | Reviews

Acid KingBeyond Vision


San Francisco’s Acid King just released Beyond Vision, their first full-length release since 2015’s Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere. If their Bandcamp pre-sales were any indication, the band’s heavy churn of stoner/doom metal has been sorely missed by many fans. Beyond Vision takes the listener on a time-defying escapade that fluctuates between head-banging and floating down through pulses of color and light. This album encapsulates a very good trip: you touch the stars without hurtling into depths of despair and it never gets so speedy that your teeth grind. It takes you to space, but the ride is smooth, even if your limbs suddenly feel like they’re weighted with hundreds of pounds of glowing galaxy goo. Time is bending and you’re lit from within. It feels good…just go with it.


The seven tracks on the album run together, meant to be listened to straight through, like one profoundly pulsing forty-three minute song. In a statement, guitarist and vocalist Lori S. explained the new turn in Acid King’s music:


“The band was never really that psychedelic, but this is definitely more trippy because we’ve got keyboards and synthesizers. That’s something we’ve never had before on Acid King records. The songs really have no beginning or end—they all just flow into each other. It’s meant to be listened to as one piece. The whole point was to have the listener feel like they’re on a journey. If you put headphones on, it’ll take you to whatever places you’d like to go to.”


The instrumental Krautrock-esque opening song, “One Light Second Away,” launches you into the spacey drift and throb immediately, with foreboding synth sounds rising throughout. Lori S.’s smoky vocals don’t start to blend into the mix until about three and half minutes into the second track, “Mind’s Eye,” when the vibe of Beyond Vision really grabs you, like walking really stoned into a smoky club (back when there were smoky clubs) to find a room full of sweaty bodies slow-motion moshing. Do we call this chill-thrashing? Stoner thrashing? Unison would-be violence that is slowed way the fuck down to a place where the urge to be violent isn’t violent anymore…that is the vibe of “Mind’s Eye” and really, the entirety of Beyond Vision.


The third song, “90 Seconds,” begins with metallic banging, like we’re trapped in an off-galaxy mine of some kind, as the lyrics give way to the anxiety of leaving your home world: “Transmissions from the sky / Is someone left behind / Or is it just a sign?”



“90 seconds” burns away into (or is swallowed by the fourth track, “Electro Magnetic,” where judging from the electronic flurry of sound at the beginning, the off-world mine has exploded and is now floating in space in chunks, as a repeated guitar hook spins out through the cosmos toward anyone who might be listening.


And many of us are listening. We’re listening with eyes wide (or squeezed shut) as the album shifts into light speed with its last three songs, “Destination Psych,” “Beyond Vision,” and “Color Trails.” But light speed here, again, doesn’t move too fast, you just know you’re shooting forward quicker than you ever have, and time is reinvented in how you feel the giant guitars, stretching synth lines, and locked-in bass and drums in your blood, in your beating heart.  You’re flying with Lori S., Jason Landrian (guitar and synths), Bryce Shelton (bass and synths), and Jason Willer (drums). If you need a visual manifestation beyond what’s happening in your own head while you listen, check out the video for “Beyond Vision,” which conjures both 60s lava lamp acid culture and 80s arcade-style games like Galaga: 



Engineered and mixed by Billy Anderson, with fantastic cover art by Peder Bergstrand, and released by Blues Funeral Recordings, Beyond Vision launches a new era for Acid King. They’ve been rocking hard and heavy since the nineties, but this most recent album shows their sonic adventures are far from over.


Beyond Vision is out now and available on Bandcamp and all major streamers.




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