Mrs. Hippie Lotus

Don't get your hopes up by the deceptive title; this isn't some psychedelic cover effort of Santana's 1974 triple-live record. The mesa cover art might lead you to believe that this oddly named outfit is from the South Western U.S. Wrong again. Put together guitarist Christian Smedström (from the Kyuss-worshipping Awesome Machine) and singer Joacim Cans (from power-metallers HammerFall) and out pops '70s groove rock with '80s metal vocals, as if Iron Maiden tried their hand at Swedish/German stoner rock. "Someone Else There" and "Lies" ring distantly of Dozer mixed with Ten Minute Warning, but sporting the full-bodied pipes of Iced Earth or Sebastian Bach. Thankfully, the slower pace of "Voices In My Head" and "Mother Nature Bleeds" breaks up the monotony while the 11-minute "Lost My Way" may approach a more rock-based Queens Of The Stone Age. In Flames bassist Peter Iwers sits in on a "very unusual and personal" (according to the liner notes) cover of Kiss's "I Want You," which is pretty good, though certainly not "unusual" by any stretch of the imagination. All in all, the Santana idea would've at least been more interesting. (Metal Blade)