Out of Gothenburg and from glam to gloom: a full-bloodied debut from the legacy bearers.
Is there a long distance from doom riffage to glitzy dancefloor? Ostensibly not, at least for this Swedish quartet who follow their water-testing EP with a molten slab of album. Sung entirely in the band’s native tongue that adds heaviness to the fire, the songs need no words when the infectious vocal sway comes on, unexpected twists are aplenty here, from the surprise switch of metallic opener “Agren Ner I Graven” with its rock ‘n’ roll undercurrent into the mirrorball jive of the handclaps-abetted, yet equally stentorian, “Guld”. One can easily track down the ensemble’s influences to BLACK SABBATH and SWEET, but their approach to melody and twin guitar work courtesy of Fredrik Boulund and singer Martin Claesson points also to WISHBONE ASH, while shades of Scandinavian folk makes “Traden (Skogens Konung)” quite special.
It’s a heady mix, “En Ny Dag” awkwardly straying into the DEPECHE MODE territory yet embracing pagan stomp along the way, but towards the end the initial tension slacks to a certain extent, as “Svardet” edges dangerously close to the genre’s progenitors’ boiling swamp and is saved by a series of dexterous, inventive solos, and “Slutet” doesn’t turn out hollow thanks only to an engaging singalong call and an exquisite acoustic thread which reveals the band’s soft underbelly. Ultimately, in terms of debut, “Maen” holds as much promise as it gets.