Smote Reverser

Oh Sees - Smote Reverser
Critic Score
Based on 18 reviews
2018 Ratings: #388 / 805
User Score
Based on 199 ratings
2018 Ratings: #550
Liked by 3 people
August 17, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Castle Face / Label
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2018's Smote Reverser feels like the culmination of all the experimentation the band has undertaken over the previous few years, the final steps of Dwyer's ascent to guitar genius, and the kind of album whose deep mysteries will keep people buzzing for years.

It’s cosmic, it’s mythic, it’s sprawling, it’s so acid-jazz-meets prog-rock that the garage-psych label seems like a flaccid insult at this point.
A.V. Club
The longer Oh Sees go, the more wicked they get.
Yet another first class album from a band that continues their musical odyssey through the stranger reaches of the universe without feeling the need to merely repeat what has come before.
The Line of Best Fit

Picking up from where they left off with last year’s Orc, Smote Reverser is linked by its very inability to sound like a grander project. Less thematic or cohesive than other records, Smote Reverser is, quite deliberately, a record that sounds like an endless stream-of-consciousness, with no underlying nucleus that pulls it all together.

‘Smote Receiver’ is what Can, Deep Purple or King Crimson would sound like if they came out 2018. Loud, hypnotic, vitriolic solos, mordant melodies with biting lyrics. It’s everything we’ve come to expect, and I can’t wait to hear the next Oh Sees instalment later in the year.
Drowned in Sound

By the time of Smote Reverser's finale 'Beat Quest', it's plain difficult to not be impressed by this insanely talented band yet again – may their reign long continue.

The Skinny

The spectacular glowing monster looming above an orgy of fiery destruction on the cover of Smote Reverser looks like it erupted from the spirit visions of the late great elven king Ronnie James Dio himself. Sprawling, magnificent, dangerous and fantastical; this beast is – however extraordinary – an apt representation of the 11-song extravaganza it adorns here.

On their new record, the California group remain deliriously unhinged but indulge in prog-metal fantasies.
Northern Transmissions
Even with some fun jazz mixed into their heavy rock, they tend to overindulge themselves more than they give listeners moments to come back for.
Spectrum Culture

New album Smote Reverser stretches all these sounds to Dwyer’s furthest explorations yet, tying in elements of jazz, metal and prog for an ambitious, if occasionally overwrought epic (note: album cover is accurate).

Rolling Stone

The band’s 21st album swerves its own weird way through Sixties and Seventies rock.

The 405

By no means does Smote Reverser signal a downward trajectory for Oh Sees. It’s just a reminder of how much better they are when working at their full potential.


Few of the riffs grab you, less stands out, but the effort put in makes for something to admire.

Loud and Quiet
Oh Sees are a well-oiled machine, but that machine looks more like a conveyor belt with each release.
Oh Sees’ mastermind may still put the rest of the world to shame with his tireless explorations of sound, but even he has proven that sometimes it’s good to have a little edit. Strip away the excessive noodling and ‘Smote Reverser’ could be up there as one of Dwyer’s best in recent years. As it is, it’s good, but not as consistently great as we’ve come to expect from him.
The Needle Drop

Though it's a pretty solid work of modern psych, Smote Reverser isn't the wall-to-wall excitement that Oh Sees' last few albums have been.

First of all, I would like to talk about the cover art. Frankly, it was a huge slap in my face. Oh Sees has clearly released the artwork of 2018. With a dark and apocalyptic cover and a very fast single ready to destroy your psyche ("Overthrown"), John Dwyer makes believe his fans that he will even more harden the sound of his new entity Oh Sees (formerly Thee Oh Sees). But no, John and his band will not do Metal on this "Smote Reverser", but they will continue in their ... read more
The Oh Sees have been producing albums at an alarming rate for some time now, yet all of them are as consistent as ever, usually offering something new for the listener. Their latest, 'Smote Reverser,' is no different. The album treads a very fine line between Doors-inspired 70's rock and garage punk, occasionally delving into a more modern interpretation of psychedelic rock.

The riff on "Sentient Oona" sets the tone early, as the song regularly bounces between a carefree, jamming ... read more
who fucking cares tho
I think people were anticipating a heavier album judging by the first single and the progression the last two albums had. However, John threw everyone a curve ball and released a prog rock album that sounds like he's been listening to a lot of Can recently. I love it. Can't wait to hear how different these songs are live.

Favorite Tracks: Nail House Needle Boys, Sentient Oona, Overthrown, C, Last Peace
They keep trying to outdo kinggizndawizliz and that's fine with me, if it continues to yield this heavy of the trippy, fuzzed-out progressive garage psych they're known for.
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Year End Lists

#10/Rough Trade
#38/Piccadilly Records

Track List

  1. Sentient Oona
  2. Enrique El Cobrador
  3. C
  4. Overthrown
  5. Last Peace
  6. Moon Bog
  7. Anthemic Aggressor
  8. Abysmal Urn
  9. Nail House Needle Boys
  10. Flies Bump Against the Glass
  11. Beat Quest
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Added on: May 21, 2018