Two years after releasing Deep Politics (TMT Review), Grails is paying another visit into the quagmires of the Black Tar Prophecies. If you’ve yet to bear witness to the Portland instrumentalists’ expansive experiment, do yourself a favor and check out Black Tar Prophecies Vols. 1, 2 & 3 (TMT Review). It’s sludgy psychedelia at its finest, swarming with Eastern polyrhythms, killer drum fills (courtesy of Emil Amos), and banjos (because who doesn’t love banjos?). Throughout the years, Grails have quietly stitched on additions to their enigmatic tapestry; Black Tar Prophecies, Vol. 4 was released in 2010 as a limited-edition 12-inch, with Black Tar Prophecies, Vol. 5 — a similarly elusive, limited-run split with Finish psych-rock phenoms, Pharaoh Overlord — following two years later.
Because of their limited physical release, these tunes were apt to sink into the tar long before listeners knew of their existence. Luckily, with next month’s physical release of Black Tar Prophecies Vols. 4, 5 & 6, those unfortunate Grails geeks will get a second chance, and then some. The 12-song collection includes Vols. 4 & 5 in their entirety, plus a trio of previously unreleased tracks. “Self-Hypnosis” is the second cut on the album, and, well, the title pretty much says it: a freefall down the rabbit hole that contains fleeting glimpses of New Age, Kraut, prog, and every other subspecies of trippy you can imagine. Listen to it enough times, and you’ll find yourself transported to some other astral plane, guaranteed.
Black Tar Prophecies is out September 23 on Temporary Residence. For all you vinyl diehards out there, you’ll be pleased to know that the Deluxe Gatefold 2xLP features four mind-blowing laser etchings — one on each side of the record, beginning where the grooves of the music end. And be sure to check out Amos’ morbid album trailer!