Today, as promised, Eurorock is in Sweden and I am as excited as ever by its never dull music scene. What else can you do on those dark, dark nights during its never ending winter that doesn’t end in a population explosion? Yes you rock, and believe me Sweden does just that.
Today we bring you five recent albums ranging from the jaw droppingly massive, through to Tull flavoured melodic, whilst taking in some Swedish stoner rock along the way. All albums featured here are English language, so no excuses.
Bonafide – Somethings Dripping
In 2008 Eurorock was busy enthusing over Bonafide in my review of their self-titled debut album. Worryingly I wrote, “this is a band that doesn’t just pay homage to the great and the good but in another age would have been right up there with them.” Surely that had to be too bold a statement and would prove hard to live up to.
No such thing! Something’s Dripping delivers, and goes round the block, hammers on your door and delivers again. The superbly named Pontius Snibb, sounding more like Bon Scott than ever, fronts a band who gleefully pay homage to the very best of classic rock of the 70s and 80s.
With a huge wedge of well written material, the odd anthemic moment in “Hard Livin’ Man” and enough energy output to make global warming a serious concern, this is a band on fire.
Any fears of Bonafide not living up to my expectations are shot to pieces by the opening salvo of “Dirt Bound”. “No Doubt About It” just oozes Bon to me with an impossibly infectious top drawer rocker. “Straight Shooters” pulverizes you into submission before “Elvis Chapel Blues” enters the fray literally overflowing with classic rock style.
The stonkingly good pair of “Fill Your Head With Rock”, and “Dog” lead to crowd pleasing “A Shot Of You.” “Butter You Up”, no need for imagination with the lyrics on this one, leads with slippery efficiency to “Swan Song” which comes complete with another killer chorus.
“Sicker Than I Think” brings it all to a breathless end. It leaves you feeling like you have just spent a couple of hours in some sleazy venue watching this lot live. You half expect to emerge smelling of sweat and smoke worrying about missing the last train home.
Well even if you did, who cares? Somethings Dripping, and for once, it doesn’t need fixing. Catch up now on their website.
The Carpet Knights – According To Life… (Transubstans Records)
Malmo based melodic progressive rock band The Carpet Knights are now eleven years along their musical path. Their latest album According To Life…sees them delving a little deeper with a recording that is slightly more intense than their debut.
This is a band that came to the fore with their debut album Lost And So Strange Is My Mind in 2005 and have members involved in other projects such as Bland Bladen, Limbo and the Oresund Space Collective.
Original Knights Manne Nilsson (vocals and flute), Jonsson (vocals and guitar) and Wulff (guitar) are all present along with more recent additions drummer Pelle Engvall and bass player Par Hallgren.
Influenced by a lifetime of listening to classic prog, folk, and rock they have produced an album of ten tracks which successfully moves them further forward. Comparisons to early Jethro Tull are inevitable with Nilsson’s flute, and ever shifting time changes very much to the fore. This is definitely the case on opening track “Headcase” which comes at you, in places, like a previously unheard Tull track.
Having said that, their music takes several unexpected sidesteps whilst taking in shades of other classic sounds like King Crimson and Gentle Giant. However, this is not an album that is merely living in the past (pun intended) and as the album grows you begin to be able to cut through those comparisons. Visit their MySpace page for more details.
The Graviators – The Graviators (Transubstans Records)
A solid wall of doom laden rock hits you as The Graviators self titled debut album kicks off with “Keep ‘Em Comin’.”
Signed to Transubstans Records in early 2009 the band come at you with a sound that has its heavy feet in the dark metal sounds of the likes of Black Sabbath. Yet it doesn’t stop there and they give it all a spin with some very now, very Sweden, stoner rock that will get your head risking dislocation from your neck in no time.
“Storm Of Creation” does that within seconds whllst giving your windows a good rattling. As the dog ran for cover I found myself further drawn into its densely fuzzed atmosphere, all of which confirms that Swedish Stoner rock is a great place to be. It’s murky, dark, and dangerously compulsive. This is all the more impressive when you remember that this is a debut album.
Titles such as “Back To The Sabbath”, and “She’s A Witch” and the doom laden riff that opens “Juggernaut” tell you all you need to know about The Graviators. Just don’t pick the kids up from school after listening to this as they might be somewhat alarmed by the madcap grin on your slavering face.
The Graviators have a MySpace page tocheck out for more details.
Jupiter Society – Terraform (ProgRock Records)
Anyone who has peered through even the puniest of telescopes will know that Jupiter is a pretty big place. Swedish Prog metal band Jupiter Society and their new album Terraform echo that observation with a massive work of sweeping drama of truly epic proportions.
Formed in 2008 their first trip out was with the album First Contact / Last Warning. Chairman of the Jupiter Society, Carl Westholm (Krux, Captree, Candlemass) clearly has an eye and an ear for grandiose drama. Just search on the word Terraform to find out what this is about and then press play. This is the equivalent of the very best Sci Fi writing put to music.
When you do play ity, be prepared for something quite extraordinarily powerful and intense. It is as though your speakers are struggling to deal with its sheer scale and your house is fit to burst at the seams as it tries to contain it all.
Huge operatic choral sequences help move from delicate melody through to massive walls of sonic imagination. It is dark, deep, and dense.
Space and time here dictates that the albums concept is best explored by the listener. Suffice it to say, there is a vibrant imagination at work here but one with the ability to transform even the most ambitious of ideas into sound.
The breathtaking opening of “New Universe” blazes a scene setting trail towards the magnificence that is “Rescue And Resurrection”. “Cranial Implant” does just that by replacing any thoughts of our sometimes dull daily lives with vibrant visual imagery that is both disturbing and inspirational.
Terraform never loses its sense of awe and wonder as it takes us through the total blackness of “Into The Dark”, “Siren Song/Black Hole”, “Terraforming”, and “Beyond These Walls You Are Not My Master.”
A stellar cast of guests also add to the journey that somehow maintains its sense of drama whilst never losing the plot. Awesome prog metal. Find out nore at the bands website.
Oblivious – Goons And Masters (Transubstans Records)
Oblivious are described on their publicity material as “a bunch of stoners from Linkoping” who play “melodic stoner rock with a touch of classic rock 'n’ roll based in the 70s”.
Yep, it’s a fair call and as they kick off their debut album Goons And Masters with “Ego Boy”. You can hear the influences of Sabbath, Motorhead, Pentagram, and maybe Clutch coming to the fore, all being shamelessly mashed into a full-on riff-fest.
Both “Red Eyed Goon” and “Kickin’ And Screamin’” kick off with pulsing bass before the dual guitars come slamming in. In amongst all this comes “Master Of Time” which takes a totally unexpected turn towards the atmospheric with a highly promising track that opens out dramatically.
“Bring It On Me”, and “Boiling Brain” both rock out mercilessly. There is more to this band though and the doom laden darkness of “Dead End Night”, the psychedelic “Bide Your Time”, and potential highlight “Blind Faith” all add an extra depth to the band and the album. Good to see the criminally underrated Five Horse Johnson getting a nod among their influences.
Back to France now to see what the postlady has brought.