Want to hear a stoner metal concept album about nature and the yeti legend? Well look no further, my friend. Telekinetic Yeti delivers a delightfully fuzzy and thick atmosphere with their 2017 debut full-length much to the appraise of fans who enjoy other stoner acts to the likes of Sleep and Electric Wizard.
Telekinetic Yeti is a two man stoner/doom metal band from Iowa. Drummer Anthony Dreyer and guitarist/vocalist Alex Baumann have contrived a masterpiece within the genre which, in my opinion, has not yet received nearly as much attention as it deserves.
Abominable follows themes of Mother Nature and its everlasting roots within our increasingly modernized society. Tracks like “Stoned and Feathered”, “Beneath the Black Sun”, and “Himalayan Hymn” all allude to this greater idea that the group is trying to express with the release. With that being said, the album features few vocal additions and the music thus relies mostly on instrumentation. This is no worry, however, as the thick and luscious guitar tone on Abominable fills up the air efficiently. There are five instrumentals on the eight-track album, and those slots that do in fact contain vocals feature them very sparingly. I believe that the group’s blatant underusage of vocals plays further towards their theme of the ever-presence of simple nature, but we’ll look into that further below.
Alex Baumann’s vocals are very harsh and rough in comparison to the vocal deliveries found with other modern stoner/doom bands such as Elder and Stoned Jesus. While the clean and filtered vocal styles common with rival groups undoubtedly fit the theme of their music, I quite enjoy Telekinetic Yeti’s rougher and less refined style. One of the reasons I got into this band was actually as a result of the unique vocals as I am not a big fan of the cleaner approach other stoner groups take.
The group’s most defined and accessible track is by far “Abominable” which is the record’s title opener. This is the most straightforward and standard song on the release and it subsequently features its fair share of vocals. This track is definitely one to show someone who is a fan of stoner/doom music but isn’t familiar with Telekinetic Yeti, as the other tunes on Abominable are long instrumentals or are structured in a less commercial manner.
Even though this is an album recommendation discussion one negative thing I will cite in regard to this release is that the opening track is somewhat misleading in terms of the vocal inclusion. While the song is great, and sold me on the band in fact, it isn’t very representative of the rest of the record. The track by far features the most vocals on the album and makes the group come off as a very typical stoner metal band; when in fact, they are the contrary. The group’s songwriting is very much unpredictable and unique and as a result, their material is fairly atypical (in a good way). I really enjoyed the first track of the record so I bought the album, but upon listening to the whole product, I realized that a lot of the songs are instrumentals and those with vocals offer them sparsely. I for one don’t necessarily mind this approach, but I could see myself being let down easily if I wanted all of the tracks to sound like “Abominable”.
You know when you’ve listened to the first 30 seconds of a song and you can already tell how it will play out until the end? Riff A, Riff B, verse 1, verse 2, chorus, verse 3, chorus, Riff A, etc… Well that definitely isn’t the case with this group as their music very much keeps you on your toes, which is an important quality to have when your material primarily consists of instrumentals which can easily bore the listener.
Telekinetic Yeti does an excellent job of making sure that their material is diverse and accessible which contributes to the fact that this record is generally an enjoyable and easy listen. There is simply just a lot of variation on this release. There is an inclusion of the longer, more typical stoner metal track “Colossus”, which is named such for obvious reasons. “Stoned and Feathered” is a faster, more up-beat listen that successfully breaks up the release. Finally, there are fairly standard inclusions like “Electronaut” (which is definitely a reference to Sleep’s famous song “Dragonaut”) and “Lightbearer” which offer that diverse range of instrumentation fitted within a standard and easily-consumable song length.
Overall, Abominable is simply a fun and enjoyable listen for anyone interested in music. The release stacks up competitively against other stoner metal releases within the genre while maintaining an easily-accessible atmosphere that won’t really deter anyone who listens to it, metal fan or not. The release is a strong debut and I am very excited for any of their future material. Telekinetic Yeti is about to go on a North American tour with fellow stoner rockers Hyborian, make sure to check them out if they’re playing a show near you.