(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist, RiffRelevant.com)
Vancouver, Washington has really been stepping it up with some incredible band offerings lately, the latest being JOLLYMON and their recent June release, ‘Voidwalker’.
In the broad expanses explored within the record, John Colgate (guitar, vocals), Carey Rich (bass, vocals), and Mark Blackburn (drums), share a diverse swath of stylistic influences. They mold them, meld them, and make them their own amid this somewhat eclectic dispersal of progressive rock, post-metal, psychedelia, and alternative rock.
Dark, heavy dispatches permeate these nine songs, each possessing groove, melodic nuances, and tightly knit playing from the trio – but JOLLYMON have had a long time to perfect their music… 18 years in fact, seeing as “Voidwalker” is their first album since a self-titled release in 2000.
The downtime has not hurt them in any way that I can tell, this album being a remarkably fertile, alluring, and ultimately enthralling record. From the empowering, groove dense intro song “Tsunami“, to the chunky metallic intensity of “A Good Day” or proto-metal powered “Missile Commander“, each one goes for the throat.
Then there is the experimental side of JOLLYMON, a trait that reappears repeatedly throughout this album. It is evidenced time and time again in such superb songs as the funk-fierce “Monkeyhawk“, the QOTSA-like pop tinges of “Be Nice“, or the rocked out reggae inflections of “Slice Of Life“.
Truth is, I found something appealing to every song on “Voidwalker“, the album as a whole, stunning and stupendous. But there are a pair of tracks that absolutely floored me from first listen, two tracks that kept me riveted with their hazy psych jam qualities: “Forecast” and “Sky Burial“. I’m not going to rail on about them, just listen to them, hell, to the whole album, for yourself.
I missed the original rise of the Pacific Northwest U.S.’ JOLLYMON during their early activity in the mid-Nineties. They released at least four studio albums at the time before going on the extended hiatus I mentioned earlier, but based on “Voidwalker“, they returned with a vengeance!
You’ve heard the term “sleeper hit” in reference to movies and other things, right? Well, I dare say that “Voidwalker” is definitely a sleeper hit album of 2018. It is a masterpiece opus that, so far, seems to be flying under the radar for most.
Damn it, do not let that be YOU, my friends! If you miss this triumphant return of JOLLYMON, then it is no one’s fault but your own… and if so, you should inflict some self-harm by kicking your own ass.
Stream the 2018 JOLLYMON release “Voidwalker” above or traipse on over to Bandcamp HERE for streaming and purchase options.