"The Last Embrace" (MeteorCity; 2003)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Spirit Caravan isn't a band that you may know off the bat, but "The Last Embrace" is a collection which makes sure that it's a band that you'll never forget, as the 29-track twin disc set illuminates this under-appreciated underground trio's lifespan. 

Featuring America's version of Lemmy, the iconic Wino on guitar and vocals, Spirit Caravan took the crash and burn style of '70s riff rock and Sabbath's doomy grooves and carved a niche for itself in the mid '90s, despite the fact that the band never broke through the underground. Garnishing praise from everyone from Phil Anselmo to Dave Grohl (whose latest project Probot features Wino), the band decided to call it a day at the end of 2002, but left behind quite a body of work in the process. This release contains most of the group's out of print material, as well as some never before heard tracks, making "The Last Embrace" both a good place to start as well as a fitting way to say goodbye. 

For more information, check out http://www.meteorcity.com

"Jug Fulla Sun" (Tolotta Records; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

The legendary Wino (Scott Weinberg of Saint Vitus, The Obsessed) leads Spirit Caravan through thirteen stoner rock tracks. Cut from the same cloth as early Black Sabbath, Spirit Caravan color their songs with deep and dark earthy tones. Soaked in the '70s spirit, but not relegated to recreating their past, Spirit Caravan are top-notch musicians who can play stoner rock with the giants of the genre. 

Spirit Caravan's Wino is a very underrated guitarist. Why more people don't know about this talent is beyond me (that would include up until a couple of months ago!).  "Cosmic Artifact" is awesome - Wino really blazes on this tune. The psychedelic groove of "Lost Sun Dance" is a cool trippy tune. The slow-burn of the title track is trance-like and full of pep. The anvil-heavy "Fang" is an interesting song about vampires. An instrumental, "Chaw", is included and it does not disappoint - the concise and blustery "Chaw" is a huge send-up to instrumentals in the past. 

The sounds of the guitar and bass are predictably fuzzy, yet there is a dryness and thick sustain that allows the music to stick to your mind like a good meal might stick to your ribs.  

If you're into the new stoner rock scene with bands like Queens Of The Stone Age and Nebula leading the way, you would do yourself well to check out Spirit Caravan. Spirit Caravan and Wino's previous bands Saint Vitus and The Obsessed are great discoveries for me (thanks, Karl!). 

Spirit Caravan is Wino on guitar and vocals, Dave Sherman on bass and backing vocals, and Gary Isom on drums and backing vocals.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.