Transonic Science Releases "Psychobulb"


If you're the slightest bit familiar with the underground German stoner rock scene, chances are you've heard of Transonic Science. 

The moment I heard the band, I was instantly hooked on their sound. It's some of the most infectious, energetic, feel-good stoner rock I've had the pleasure of hearing, and my go-to jam when I need a mood or energy boost. Not only that, but the band's sound and energy is very much their own; when Transonic Science comes through your speakers, you immediately know who you're listening to. This is a band that's been on massively heavy rotation for me since I first heard the Bulldozer Blues EP in 2023. 

These guys have been making music since 1997, nearing their third decade of cranking out their unique brand of stoner rock, marked by alternatively melodic/gravelly vocals, vibrant riffage, and infusions of psychedelic rock, blues, desert groove, and grunge. The band released two EPs (Sunshine Baby Home in 2000 and Bulldozer Blues in 2020) and one full-length album, Mind Strippin' Sun, in 2003. Transonic Science has also played a plethora of gigs alongside names such as Dozer, Girls Against Boys, and Blackmail. Unfortunately, the band lost co-founder Gerald Kirsch in 2018. Acquiring strength through a tribute concert for their friend and band mate, Transonic Science welcomed bassist Manuel Estrada. 

By 2020, the band was itching to make a comeback, and comeback they did with their latest LP, Psychobulb, a highly-anticipated album that saw the light of day on May 3, 2024, via Argonauta Records. 

Now, let's dig into this juggernaut track-by-track: 


1. Fear of God

This was the first single Transonic Science released from Psychobulb in April 2024. Fear of God was not only a phenomenal choice for a first single, but it's an equally great way to start the album, blasting right out of the gate with Transonic Science's trademark dynamism. Lyrically, Fear of God is about an angel who rebelled and was abandoned by God. After the angel returns to ask for forgiveness, God rejects him, ultimately leading to the angel's suffering. That rather grave situation is skillfully recreated in this track's sound. Fear of God actually starts off in a very groovy way, complete with some upbeat piano. After the first verse, however, the song escalates into crashing instrumentals and vocal wails, during which it's easy to envision the angel being cast out and falling from heaven. Just as quickly, the second verse regains the groove, only to collide with cruel fate again. This is reminiscent of two opposing sides: a clashing together of wills, repeated failures, and consequences. Fear of God ends with guttural, growling vocals (God is pissed, after all), and heavy, formidable guitars, signaling God's rejection and the angel's unfortunate end. The crazy part is, in spite of the seriousness of the situation at hand, this song is incredibly infectious and very immersive due to its light and dark layers. In a word, it feels very powerful. 

2. Stereo One

This track starts out with slow, hypnotic bass and tranquil, yet mournful vocals that sing of regret, solitude, and perseverance. Stereo One picks up just before the halfway point with a quick interlude of bright, soaring guitar and confident vocals, before giving way to that dismal vibe again, repeating twice. The song ends on a hopeful note, with some wailing guitar solos and lighter, sunnier riffage. However, based on the lyrics and alternating mood here, it feels like a forced sense of optimism; you might as well keep going because you have nothing else to lose. 

3. Kain & Abel

The second single from Psychobulb has a way of lumbering in, low and rumbling, moving into swinging verses and more melodic vocals behind scintillating guitar. However, it just wouldn't be a Transonic Science song if we didn't answer that with gruff, shouting vocals and kick up the heaviness tenfold in the chorus (and I mean that in the best way). This, of course, creates a sound like an argument in tone, a back and forth between reason and rage, light and dark, good and evil. This makes perfect sense because Kain and Abel, like Fear of God, is about opposing sides...polar opposites in this case. According to the band, Kain and Abel acknowledges that good and evil will always be at odds with each other, and is "how they keep each other alive and ensure they...will always exist." This is another passionate performance from both vocals and instrumentals, adeptly conveying the contrast between good and evil with music, words, and voice. And, as always, the song is super catchy in spite of the heaviness of the subject matter. 

4. Cherokee Smith

Now this one is a straight-up, feel-good, upbeat stoner rock jam with some hints of surf punk. Quite the ray of sunshine after the stormy conflicts Psychobulb began with. Ergün Aktürk is doing what he does best, delivering a fiery, impassioned performance atop the uplifted, vibrant instrumentals. This song includes a great showcase of guitar work as well. 

5. Scarscraper

It appears I spoke too soon. Scarscraper is an incredibly broken-hearted song, carried by trepidatious bass and cautious, sorrowful guitar. Even more than Stereo One, Scarscraper conveys a mental and physical struggle. The difference is that this one has much more dejected feel; the subject is far less content with his situation. 

6. Wildest Frame

On Wildest Frame, the mood is lifted with one of the most rollicking tracks on the album, featuring some triumphant, blazing lead guitar. This is classic Transonic Science. 

7. Dusty

Dusty's riff and vocals on its verses snake about like a lone serpent on the sunbaked desert, interspersed with wailing lead simulating the blinding sun overhead. In fact, if I could describe the mood of this song in two words, it would be "desert blues". 

8. Satellite Blues

Satellite Blues is so delightfully fuzzy, a thick layer of the stuff over a grumbling down below from the bass. Vocal effects are used here, amplifying Aktürk's gravelly tone in the best way. It seems I've spoken too soon again... If Dusty is desert blues, then this is desert blues on steroids - a badass, Mad Max kind of situation, complete with a foot stomping rhythm. Heavy, fuzzy, sandblasted, delicious. 

9. Jaycoon 

Jaycoon, overall, is very much a retro rock ballad, unlike anything I've ever heard from Transonic Science before. Like many of the songs on Psychobulb, Jaycoon is layered with the contrast of husky vocals and heavier instrumentals on the choruses. This time, that contrast isn't so great that it implies a conflict or opposing forces; the spirit of the song is maintained with a certain woebegone tone that is ever-present. As the song fades with the same grief-stricken retro rock guitar it entered with, it feels a bit eerie in the best way, ending the album on a haunting note. 

Final Thoughts

Let's be completely honest: I knew I was going to love Psychobulb. Transonic Science continues to bring their trademark energy, vocals that can go from melodic to throaty growls at the drop of a hat, and their own brand of stoner rock tinted with psychedelic blues and a hint of grungy goodness. The remarkable thing (and the thing that frankly makes me a bit emotional), is that flame of passion the band has always had is burning just as brightly as it was over 20 years ago, when they released their first full length album. Aging like a fine wine, Transonic Science proves on Psychobulb that they never went anywhere and, in fact, aren't planning on going anywhere anytime soon. While these pillars of the German stoner rock scene are still holding steady, they're not content to stagnate. On Psychobulb, Transonic Science delivers an incredibly impassioned, thoughtful, layered performance that demonstrates that their sound has only continued to grow and develop over the years. I would say job well done, but I feel like that would be the understatement of the century. My primary feeling, to be honest, is one of immense respect for this amazing band. 

More About Transonic Science

Transonic Science Is:

Peter Begerow - Drums
Markus Bongardt - Guitars
Ergün Aktürk - Vocals
Manuel Estrada - Bass

You can follow Transonic Science/check out their music at the following links:
Go forth and show Transonic Science some much-deserved love! 


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