Pale Grey Lore’s second album, Eschatology is all about expansion. The band itself expanded from a trio to a quartet with the recruitment of a second guitarist, the total runtime stretches ten minutes beyond their 2016 self-titled debut, and the approach to spacy psych doom has gotten a little more elaborate. There’s a certain irony in pairing this development with an apocalyptic conceptual theme, but I’m not one to argue with progress in whatever form it comes.
As befitting the narrative, the songwriting on Eschatology shows off a broader sense of scale. This is immediately demonstrated on the slow buildup that defines the opening “Sunken Cities” though the album’s second half sees a few darker excursions in the form of the thunderous “Void-Cursed” and the multi-faceted title track. Of course, there are lighter tracks that balance things out; I especially appreciate the dreamlike acoustic textures on “Waiting for the Dawn” and tracks like “Greed Springs Eternal” and “The Rift” make for jaunty stoner rock romps. There’s also some fun to be had in the Uncle Acid-style slink on “Silent Command.”
Going along with this, the band dynamic also has more power behind it. The guitars are predictably beefier than before, putting a more aggressive spin on the pre-established fuzz as songs like “Before the Fall” and “Regicide” are dominated by weighty chugs and harmonies. Thankfully the band’s more psychedelic elements are well-preserved as the vocals are delivered exclusively through an echoing filter, the beats are driven by a mix of simple drum beats and upbeat percussion, and there are hearty latherings of Hawkwind-style keyboards and theremin throughout.
While Pale Grey Lore’s debut album set up a solid foundation in 2016, Eschatology is where things really get interesting. A noticeable boost in heaviness gives the group some extra weight but they never lose sight of their psychedelic roots. The conceptual angle, in turn, sets a strong precedent for what will hopefully be even more trippy freak-outs to follow. If albums like this and the newest efforts by Merlin, Book of Wyrms, and Ecstatic Vision are anything to go by, the space rock scene is in good hands.
“Before the Fall”
“Waiting for the Dawn”