Nick Oliveri, is a name synonymous with stoner/desert rock. He's been around the scene longer than anyone can remember, being part of the founding fathers of the moment in Kyuss, through the ever popular Queens of the Stone Age, Mondo Generator and an hundred more side projects that are just too numerous to list. You name it, he's done it.
Whilst being the well travelled musician he's built up quite the following, but also quite the big back catalogue and numerous collaborations and guest appearances with all and sundry. So back in November 2016, nearly a year ago now, Oliveri announced a series of compilation albums featuring rare and previously unreleased tracks he's recorded with various artists.
A year on and we're onto volume three of the series of albums entitled "N.O. Hits At All". The short but sweet just under 20 minute album featuring six tracks spanning the great man’s career is an eclectic mix from heavy and hell to blues rock.
The compilation opens with R'N'R Outlaw a blues laden track almost Led Zeppelin like in sound which isn't surprising given it is a Rose tattoo cover. Oliveri performed this with the legend that is Wino and Joey Castillo under the Royale Daemons guise and their influence, particularly the former shines through, taking a classic and giving it a desert rock twist.
Luv is Fiction offers a complete juxtaposition from the previous song in sound and feel. Oliveri joins The Dwarves for this track where strong punk influence shines through with fast throbbing riffs in this short punchy song.
He Who Cannot Be Named offer the outlet for which Oliveri provides vocals on the final track on side one of this mini album. Medication starts slowly, gentle guitars build leading to some punch riffs before Nick's vocals kick in. If anything this is a traditional rock number with a hint of 70's British punk thrown in, certainly far removed from his traditional roots and if anything sounding a little "Johnny Rotten".
The flip side of the record starts strongly with my favourite track of the release. Kyuss Dies is performed with Kyuss Lives, the remnants of the band he started out in all those years ago. This is the traditional stoner rock he is associated with, pulsating basslines lead the tune down its dark fulfilling road. Brant Bjork’s drums as ever providing perfect accompaniment to his bass and vocals.
Country as Fuck sees him teaming up with Joey Castillo for the second time, this time with the rest of Plan B in tow. Oliveri's vocals drive another punky number but with a southern country spin which is delivered with the ferocity the song title alludes to.
To close out the short 18 minutes of variety on this album he teams up with Melissa Auf Der Maur's and her Hand Of Doom project for a cover of Black Sabbath's legendary number, Mob Rules. Putting a different spin on the classic, it’s less doom laden than the traditional Sabbath rendition and more grunge rock. Auf Der Maur's guitar styling is on point and fits perfectly with Oliveri's vocal style. A genuinely unique twist on a Sabbath number that truly works.
The album as a whole is an eclectic mix ranging from punk, to desert rock to country. Whilst it may sound different, if not a little strange, to combine all such sounds on one recording it works well. Tied together raucously by Oliveri's vocal styling which he provides to each number with the various acts he's worked with. It may not be the traditional stoner rock fans dream album, but as a piece of musical art, it’s exquisite.