Hermano ...Into the Exam Room

Since 2005’s Dare I Say…, stoner rock all-stars Hermano have been riding a tsunami wave of critical success. Guitarist David Angstrom and drummer Chris Leathers (both former mates in rawkers Supafuzz) are the solid foundation around the legendary pipes of Kyuss/Unida throat John Garcia. Surely a reference to Supafuzz’s home state, opener "Kentucky” sets the stage for high-octane desert rock, reinforced by "Exam Room,” "Left Side Bleeding” and "Hard Working Wall.” The most exemplary of these outings is the scorching "Out of Key, But In the Mood,” a perfectly balanced combination of Garcia’s most soulful singing and Angstrom’s urgent, stratospheric solos. Other mind-boggling slow-burners include the largely acoustic "Dark Horse II,” the conga-laden "Bona-Fide” and the porch swing ditty "At the Bar.” And Garcia’s warm tenor delivers the goods every time. Hermano have managed to reach a mile-high level of Masters of Reality-styled rock while including enough psychedelic reverberations to string out the stoner contingent for years to come. (Regain)