Camel Driver is a three piece instrumental group coming out of Kiel, Germany. They started up in 2012 and are consisting of Christoph (bass), Alex (drums) and Lutz (guitar). These guys have worked and earned their respect both on stage and in their scene and in their native home of Germany. Camel Driver are quoted as “Going Deeply into versatile songwriting to create their own colorful and massive sound landscape.” They are citied as desert rock with metal infusions along with some fine-tuned jazz oriented parts. Their album was via Pink Tank Records. Pink Tank is a DIY label that was founded in 2013 and is based out of Hamburg, Germany. Camel Driver is one among the 20 bands on the Pink Tank roster. Though the band released their self titled debut on August 31st, 2014, it still resonates with fans both new and old.
Camel Driver may not be for everyone seeing how they are purely instrumental and I realize that it isn’t always everyone’s jam. This album could be a game changer for some between the groovy, almost stoner rock vibes mixed with some 70’s classic rock tones sprinkled in. (Even a few surprises with some jazz-esque pop ins.) This album starts off great and ends appropriately within the tones set throughout the album. While I enjoyed the whole album, let’s talk about the meat of it and we will begin with a track titled “Devils Marbles”. Marbles starts off with a mysterious feel to it and keeps up, as It gets a little more up-tempo while keeping that eerie feel throughout. The solo part way through really sets the song off (one might say it steals the show on the song) culminating with the mellow finish to it with what I can only say sounds like a kazoo peppered in during the outro. Next up is “Heraklion”. Heraklion opens with some insanely infectious guitar riffs that keep you invested till the middle section that is a thrash/melodic metal meeting that shouldn’t be missed. All three members shine on this track and really liked the jazzy breakdown during the final minutes that was a somber but fitting moment before those riffs come back in, reminding you why we are here. Then comes what I can only describe as a mental picture inducing journey called “Megalith”. First off, the music cues throughout are great at showing the perils and excitement during this story. It’s slower and more methodical compared to other tracks and feels as if we have just set off on a quest to find the higher meaning hidden in this gem of a song. Sitting back and just enjoying the ride Megalith takes us on is almost enough for the recommendation of this album alone, but then the middle hits us as if we have just found ourselves in right in the middle of the battle for this unknown quest and continues this as it rides off into the sunset (end of song). And for a bonus I’d like to toss “Talus” into the mix. It’s on the shorter end of songs on the album but it gets right to the point and is a throwback that most 70’s classic hard rock fans are sure to enjoy.
Overall, this is a very solid debut album that groove/stoner metal fans will get enjoyment out of. And possibly bring new fans from other genres if given the chance. There is only 8 tracks so it’s not a huge time investment (coming in at a little over 37 mins) to see if it’s your thing or not. I for one instantly put the album on repeat once I finished for this review. The guys in Camel Driver have definitely left me wanting more and I look forward to any new efforts they choose to put out. Since releasing this album, they have also done a split album with fellow instrumental and Pink Tank alum, MOEWN, titled ‘Rites Of Passage / Aestus’. If you enjoyed Camel Drivers’ debut, I would suggest this as your immediate follow up.