Album Review: High Desert Queen / Blue Heron - Turned To Stone Chapter 8: The Wake
Reviewed by Matthew Williams
'Turned to Stone Chapter 8: The Wake' is the new split record from Ripple Music, featuring Southwestern heavy and stoner rock merchants High Desert Queen and Blue Heron, and it is a masterclass of 6 heavy riff fuelled songs, that showcase the very best that these two bands offer.
High Desert Queen have been on a massive upward trajectory since the release of their critically acclaimed debut 'Secrets of the Black Moon' in 2021, and their thunderous, fuzz drenched stoner rock n’roll has been wowing audiences everywhere and they seem a natural band to partner with Blue Heron, having been invited to Albuquerque by frontman Jadd Shickler to play at the release party for the first Blue Heron single, and then invited back to play Ripplefest, Texas, and so a friendship has grown.
Each band has contributed 3 songs, kicking off with the mesmerising 'Black Moon' by High Desert Queen, a song full of energy and straight away you know the distinctive vocals of Ryan Garney. It has several changes of direction and pace, and gives off a vibe of pure enjoyment, and a band who are growing with each and every new piece of music they put out.
They then change pace completely, with a soft, gentle number called 'Drift Into The Sun', again showing how diverse the band are, but the riff half way through will have your mind literally drifting away, it’s a great song, before they turn the amp back up to 11, with the raucous “Roll The Dice”, another song that will get your head banging, with their now trademark killer riffs splattered across the song, ensuring more high quality music that we’ve come to expect from the band.
Then it’s the turn of Blue Heron, who are building on the back of last year’s highly appreciated debut LP 'Ephemeral' and they enter the fray with 'Able Baker', which presents a slightly different tone, a more stoner rock feel to it, slightly heavier music in parts, with Shickler’s roaring vocals coming through loud and clear, complimenting the bands massive sound, and producing one hell of a song.
The noise is kept up with second track 'Day of the Comet' with the pummelling drums very noticeable in the mix and it’s a very impressive song, that has a little bit of stoner rock, sludge and metal running throughout, before the split is brought to an end with 'Superposition' which begins with a cracking riff and doesn’t relent from that position at all. It definitely has more of that desert rock feeling to it and will stand up to most songs in this genre.
A thoroughly enjoyable split EP from two bands who are starting to get the recognition that they deserve.