Album Review: Great Electric Quest – Live At Freak Valley

Album Review: Great Electric Quest - Live At Freak Valley
Reviewed by Jon Wigg

San Diego Stoner Rock/Metal act Great Electric Quest demonstrate their live chops on this set, recorded at the Freak Valley Festival in Netphen, Germany in 2019. The set is made up of 7 tracks from their 2018 album ‘Chapter II - OF EARTH’ and is a good mix of 70’s metal, stoner rock and blues metal that has returned to prominence over the last few years.

Comprising of Tyler ‘T-Sweat’ Dingvell on vocals, Buddy Donner on Guitar, Daniel ‘MuchoDrums’ Velasco and bassist Jared Bliss, the enjoyment this quartet gets from playing their music live comes through on the record. Although a bit rough and ready around the edges, especially during some of the slower vocal performances, it’s an enjoyable romp through their latest album with the addition of a couple of classic covers.

After intro, ‘In The Flesh’, ‘Seeker of the Flame’ kicks off with a drum opening before the familiar rhythm of 70’s classic metal kicks in. Like many metal bands with only one guitarist and a low bass mix, Great Electric Quest do suffer a little during solos as the rhythm section struggles to keep the action going as the lead does their thing.

Next up, the ‘Of Earth’ trilogy. ‘Part I’ is odd in that it starts again with a drum section, and then at around a minute and a half in, has a four minute drum solo. This does mirror the studio album and the drumming itself is fine, but this really does break up the flow of the live performance so early on. ‘Part II’ is a highlight as the Judas Priest like riffs show off what the band can do. ‘Part III’ is the ballad on the album and is fine in the middle of the set.

Talking of Judas Priest, a cover of ‘Victims of Changes’ follows with Dingvell channeling his inner Halford although not quite hitting the higher notes - let face it few can including more recently, Halford himself. Three more tracks from Chapter II follow and this is where the studio album and performance here really rocks. ‘The Madness’ is a good traditional metaller and slower, more atmospheric ‘Heart of the Son’ adds a nice mixture of styles. Album highlight ‘Wicked Hands’ finishes off the original material here before a good cover of Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’ closes the set. I appreciate that time is an issue live, especially at festivals, but the one song on Chapter II omitted from the set was ‘Anubis’ which was the doom-ladened highlight of the album.

Live albums really can be hit and miss. This isn’t a hit but does showcase the potential of the Great Electric Quest. Not the greatest performance and an odd flow in the first 20 minutes or so with the excessively long drum sections, but they clearly love what they do and this was a fun listen.

'Live at Freak Valley' is released via Ripple Music on March 27th

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