Boomkat Product Review:
Blisteringly good psych-rock virtuosity from the terminally underrated Nigerien axe deity Mdou Moctar and his team of collaborators. Eddie Van Halen in an acid bath with Jimi Hendrix and Ozzy Osborne? Better, tbh.
While Saharan rock music has slowly reached the near-mainstream in the last few years, it's a surprise to us that Mdou Moctar isn't more notorious. The prodigious guitarist taught himself to play - despite being a lefty - listening to Hendrix and mimicking his sounds while developing his own unique formula concurrently. The result is a fusion of traditional Tuareg music and blistering '70s and '80s hard rock, a sound that has never been better exposed than on "Afrique Victime".
Here, Moctar is accompanied by Souleymane Ibrahim on drums, Ahmoudou Madassane on rhythm guitar and Mikey Coltun on bass, and runs through themes that feel heavy and urgent. As the title suggests, the exploitation of West Africa by colonial powers is at the forefront, but Moctar also finds time to wax poetic on love and address religion and women's rights - all set to wild, tangled riffing that gives acid rock its new center in Nigerien capital Niamey.
It's brilliant stuff, essential headmelt material whether you're a devotee of forebears like Tinariwen (guitarist Abdallah Ag Oumbadagou was one of Moctar's heroes) or a dedicated Sabbath/Earth/Sunn O))) doomer. Rock ain't dead, it just moved house.