Brant Bjork – “Mankind Woman” REVIEW

Mention the term ‘desert rock’ to any music fan and odds are, he or she will answer with Queens Of The Stone Age. While that’s worthy answer if you want to paint with a broad brush, but the hard rock sub-genre goes deeper than that. Going back to the genesis of QOTSA and you’ll find yourself at KYUSS. As a driving force behind Kyuss, Bjork’s ambition eventually out-grew the rest of the band. After one too many conflicts with Josh Homme, Bjork set out on his own and started what would be a long fruitful career on his own terms. Fast forward to 2018 and we have his 12th studio album Mankind Woman.

With so much music under his belt, it’s difficult to find a starting point when jumping into the works of Brant Bjork.

From stoner metal to funk, Brant has pretty much left his mark on just about every genre he has attempted over the course of 30 + years. As a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer, saying he knows his way around a recording studio would be the understatement of the year! With Mankind Woman, everything Brant Bjork has mastered throughout his career comes together in one cohesive album, celebrating who he is as an artist.

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From the very start with the lead single “Chocolatize”, you think you know what you’re getting into. The Hendrix-meets-Deep Purple riffs feel right at home with Funkadelic-esque lyrics and Bjork’s vocals. But this record is far from a one trick pony. Outside the fuzzed out riffs and bombastic beats lie tasteful experimentation and even heartfelt emotion.

Despite being a desert rock album, Mankind Woman still showcases vulnerability when you least expect it.

With lyrics about racism, hypocrisy, and finding one’s way in a world of corruption, Mankind Woman plays like an album that would hit home in the late 60s just as much as it does today. That’s not to say it’s an old-fashioned album by any means. It’s just a testament to Bjork’s songwriting with how he’s able to pay tribute to an important era of protest music and applies it to today’s world. Mankind Woman is very much a modern classic in that sense. Spiritually it makes you want to clench your fists and protest the atrocities but mentally, you want to get up and dance.

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Bridging stoner metal, soul, and funk isn’t an easy task but it’s where Brant Bjork shines. Never once does Mankind Woman lend itself to one particular genre. It has all the heavy riffage of a rock record, but the heart of any good soul performer. Back that with the groove of funk and the intensity of garage punk, and you have one of this year’s most unique indie rock records

By refusing to compromise his artistic vision, Brant Bjork has once again proven himself as one of the most interesting artists in the music business.If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Brant Bjork’s work, Mankind Woman is the perfect starting point and just might be the crowning achievement of his massive career.


Mankind Woman is available on CD, digital download, and vinyl from Heavy Psyche Sounds

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Aaron The Audiophile

Son, brother, uncle, musician. I enjoy music of all genres, shapes and sizes, preferably the good kind.

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