While their name may inspire slightly horrendous images of Glastonbury flower child trustafarians who believe they’re the reincarnation of King Arthur, the reality is that Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight are a hard-working trio of stoner doom enthusiasts from St Albans who have been plugging away in the underground for years, never quite reaching the giddy heights of fellow smoke n’ Sabbath obsessives Electric Wizard and Orange Goblin. Their new EP “Underground” is unlikely to rectify this state of affairs but if it gets a few heads nodding in appreciation (and it most certainly will) then one gets the feeling that the mission will have been well accomplished.
The dense, weighty guitar tone of the opening title track is enough to instantly blow the cobwebs off any sleepy longhair, recalling Crowbar if they weren’t so miserable. Pete Holland’s leisurely vocals glide over the top like a light breeze, not so much soaring to giddy heights as gently floating in mutual appreciation. There’s also an undeniable post-grunge flavour that prevents the track from becoming too much of a dirge.
Next track ‘Echoes Return’ has the band raiding their own back catalogue for inspiration, reworking the song ‘Echoes’ from their 2009 release “Movin’ On.” The slowly building riffs are a treat to experience as they ebb and flow like the tides, topped off with an effortlessly catchy refrain from Holland. The almighty riff initially takes a backseat for instrumental track ‘Enlightenment’ which demonstrates some fine interplay between bassist Dickie King and drummer Chris West and conjures images of a dusty desert plain. It soon comes back though and anyone who dug much-missed riff maniacs Capricorns will find much to admire here as we are taken on an engrossing trip into the outer reaches.
‘Discoveries’ is another tracks sans vocals that breaks up the weighty riffage with some vaguely post metal tinged melodic lines. However, this blending of styles is more miss than hit as it doesn’t progress in any meaningful manner and perhaps should have been left back in the practice room. The earlier cohesion is easily restored however, by the closing ‘New Beginnings’ which seethes and surges like vintage Kylesa, closing proceedings in fine style.
With five tracks clocking in at over half an hour, “Underground” is one of the most value for money EP’s you’re likely to hear, and also a damn fine representation of a sublime stoner doom band doing what they do best. Well worth it.