Richard Allan “Ricky” Kasso Jr. was known as “The Acid King” due to his chronic drug use, but went down in history in the United States for the crime he committed against one of his friends, Gary Lauwers, in 1984, which was classified by the press as a “murder with satanic motives”. If you search for him online, you can see the photos of him wearing an AC/DC t-shirt. So the cocktail was served out of sensationalism, it was simply a time when heavy metal was in vogue and was being put on trial for its supposed bad influence on the youth. Ten years after the events, Richard’s face appeared on the cover of the first EP of Acid King, a group that adopted that nickname as its name after its guitarist, vocalist and leader Loris S. mentioned it in a book called Say You Love “Satan” who collects this dirty story.
After several line-up changes and a few breaks, Acid King’s presence is glorious. In 2023 they released “Beyond Vision,” a cathartic album full of instrumental moments that drop their heaviness with everything. Supported by bassist Bryce Shelton and drummer Jason Willer, the American combo seems renewed and its debut meets the expectations of the national Sabbath community, being a historic enclave within the genre that has its weapons on the legendary label Man’s Ruin Records 90s, an underground icon that hosted names like Melvins, Fu Manchu and Orange Goblin.
The trio honored this very heritage and made the crazy dream of those who longed to experience this encounter one day in Chile come true. And if the mere fact of Acid King entering our country was an epic event, the inclusion of Yajaira on the poster would do nothing but elevate the quality of the show to stratospheric levels. The Chileans have also had a very busy 2023, between the numerous dates on the local tour, the tour of Argentina and the recording of their new album, so this date falls at a time when the band is feeling super oiled, especially given yours current training. Gastón Cantillana, founder of Bombtrack Distro, wears his “Antiguos Demonios” T-shirt and enjoys every moment on stage while playing the chords of “Epopeya”, “Ruina Humana” or “Escombros”. In fact, his work as second guitarist is essential to making the band sound more compact, and it’s a joy to see him sharing solos with Sam Maquieira on “Nirmanakaya.” One thinks about how refreshing it is to witness this coming together of different generations around the Sabbath sound. Although Gastón is a little ahead in some parts, he manages to team up with Sam, allowing him to shine in those watery and ethereal solos like those in “Muerte Astral,” with the delay driving the waves to infinity, which is part its characteristic proposal is what makes it so unique. Behind it all is Kurt Heyer, a beast on drums who knows how to drive songs into the abyss, well known to those who also follow his adventures in Bitterdusk and Los Tábanos Experience. Their arrival in Yajaira brought only luxurious performances with devastating energy and a dizzying pulse in “Hormigas” that further enlivens the current quartet’s catalog. For his part, Miguel Ángel “Comegato” Montenegro is insurmountable in that bass that breathes fire in the intro of “AtormentNOS” and in the voice of “Dámelo” and “Camino de Piedra” when his vocal cords join those of an audience fire. As usually happens when the national band has so much height and resonance, the house seems full as you watch them move relaxed through a discography that has no rubble, thanks to a setlist that leaves no pause and who defend their people with both arms, singing or closing their eyes to feel these precise blows that leave no one alive. When we see Yajaira, we always take part in a cathartic ritual, a communion in which we venerate our national heavy rock totem, for good reason.
After nationals, the American trio came out in full force. The constant feedback shook the RBX’s walls until Loris Fuzz took its place, a brittle, listless drone that mixed with overdriven bass and complex drums on the instrumental “One Light Second Away.” As expected, the defense of her latest “Beyond Vision” was the backbone of the show, including “Mind’s Eye” and “90 Seconds” at the start, with Lori’s voice lost in a mud of saturation and several instrumental moments in The Key is the hypnotic repetition to understand the riffs, to let yourself be carried away by the vibrations that hit your chest. Everything is so loud that we get dizzy and lose ourselves in a jungle of distorted images and incomprehensible words.
Relying on their catalogs of yesteryear like “Coming Down from Outer Space,” “2 Wheel Nation,” “Drive Fast, Take Chances,” and especially “Electric Machine,” they put the audience in their pockets and raise their fists and heads tremble amidst an auditory fog that leaves one paralyzed. You have to be stupid at this point, the Acid King concert is not designed to comfortably enjoy something neat and defined, it’s about getting the most out of your eardrums, because volume is king. At the same time, it promotes an overwhelming sensual ecstasy, which has the grace to end its first part with “Beyond Vision” and the instrumental “Color Trails”, samples of the latest work, with which the circle closes at the very beginning of the concert Feedback vocabulary and the thick execution.
The second part of the concert was just dedicated to reviewing the rest of their discography and this is relevant because it allows us to focus on the functionality of the band’s current pieces. Bryce Shelton is one of those bassists who stands by him and focuses on his work. He doesn’t have a microphone, he doesn’t need one, his thing is to move his huge fingers over his Fender bass with an open hand, much like Al Cisneros from Sleep in “Lead Paint”, and let Lori synchronize with the audience sings the line “Slow, that’s the only way I know” and that reflects not only the music of Acid King himself, but the entire culture of this swampy rock. Jason Willer’s drum flourishes on “Teen Dusthead” and “Silent Circle” are on par with the original Joey Osbourne. The guy has a bold pulse that remains restless, especially in the final song, a driving force for this version of the band that will hopefully continue for a long time to come. Lori is a personality in her own right, she lets her guitar take center stage and always plays her Gibson Les Paul with the bridge pickup. While most guitarists are frantically massaging the knobs, Lori always maintains the configuration of her instrument, which helps greatly in maintaining the necessary drone and tonal flatness in which her short solos don’t stand out, they are part of that stream of consciousness turned relentless stoner .
With Little Big Muff roaring at the top of his lungs and the other instruments marching in tandem, “Free” marks the end of an unforgettable show. Who would have thought that something as macabre as the death of a young man at the hands of an acid-addicted psychopath would produce such a diverse, cosmic and visceral sound that penetrates to the core, just as Lori had imagined when she… Read Listen to the story of Ricky Kasso Jr. in “Say You Love Satan” or hear Black Sabbath with his friends at the Busse Woods Reservation near Chicago. Finally, with the support of the immortal Yajaira, Acid King gave us a hypnotic and lysergic night full of smoky riffs at RBX, a trance that will last for several days in the minds of those addicted to the Sabbath sound and lost in this forest made of fluff and were crushed by a huge electrical machine.