EP Review: Héliolite By Birds of Nazca

Nantes, France, is home to a duo of musicians that call themselves Birds of Nazca. They recently released their second album, a three-track EP called Héliolite, with a digital version on May 5th, 2023, a CD release slated for June 15th, and a vinyl release on September 15th.

About Héliolite

Formed in 2019, Birds of Nazca hovers in the spaces between stoner rock, heavy psych, and doom, a fact that’s hard to miss on the three tracks that make up Héliolite. They adjusted their guitar tone for this EP by adding a bass amp to the two guitar amps that Guillaume had been using previously; this helped to create a thicker tone that suited these songs to a tee!

The Songs

The track title Inti Raymi’ refers to a traditional religious ceremony of the Incan Empire. This is in honor of the god Inti, the most revered deity in the Inca religion, and is one of the most important festivals of the Incan Empire.

On the musical end, we find guitarist Guillaume and drummer Romuald weaving a web of stoner riffs interlaced with desert rock in the vein of Queens of the Stone Age. They also throw in a dose of heavy psych about halfway through, which breaks up the heavier elements while introducing an excellent dynamic shift before heading back into stoner territory to finish things up. 

Like the two songs it’s sandwiched between, Spheniscus has its own meaning, referring to the genus of the banded penguin. The music gives off a bit of a King Buffalo feel but also delves into a more rocking area. The groove is solid and consistent, never fading with the rise and fall of each section, and there’s an excellent heavy psych sound to the song as a whole.

I Googled the name Gucumatz as I listened to this track, and Wikipedia said that “it was a god of wind and rain of the Postclassic Kʼicheʼ Maya. It was the Feathered Serpent that, according to the Popol Vuh, created the world and humanity, together with the god Tepeu.”

The music begins with a laid-back, psychedelic feel, slowly raising the intensity, building anticipation until the riff kicks in hard just before the two-and-a-half-minute mark. Things take a sludgy turn shortly after, yet that heavy psych vibe remains constant, and for the remaining six minutes, this song will drill its way into your ears with precision and care, rising and falling in exactly the right spots.

Final Thoughts

Birds of Nazca presents a batch of excellent instrumental jams on Héliolite. The music is memorable and should instigate repeated listens by anyone who gives it a chance. The way they incorporate their influences is perfectly suited to their overall vibe.

It was cool that they used ancient influences in not just their name but in their music as well; Inti Raymi and Gucumatz are both examples of what I mean. I don’t know about you readers, but I find it extremely interesting when bands can teach us something with their songs.

I recommend fans of this genre and of instrumental music, in general, give Birds of Nazca their attention, as Héliolite will become one of their favorite EPs by doing so. Enjoy!!!

Support Birds of Nazca by finding them on Bandcamp or social media (Facebook, Instagram).

This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now-defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.

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