Swedish quartet take their full-length debut to the point of known return.
Their name means “heavy” in Icelandic and, indeed, heavy they are, although there’s a lot of subtleties and varierty of moods on this collective’s first album. For all its stoner slant, the foursome don’t feel shackled to a particular style, which makes “No Going Back” interesting – once you dig in to find what’s in store.
There’s an alternative air to the likes of “Trigger” and a shredding intrigue to “Skin” yet, ruffled with a infectious riff, “Animals” is metal disco, dancing to the edge of despair, where acoustic strum and orchestral sweep of “Breathe Under Water” reveal previously hidden depth to the group’s more or less traditional mold. The unrelenting chthonic throb of “White Lies” ebbs away only to let vocals to the fore, so the voices can breathe, snatch strands of blues on chorus and strangle them with a tight guitar weave courtesy of Bjorn Stegerling and singer Kristjan Samuelsson, while Roger Nielsen’s bass shoots groove into it all, before the pulsing “Abandon” bares the band’s lyrical underbelly – and renders it laden with lead again.
As Andreas Albihn’s drums drive “Temptation” to the heart of eternity, the ensemble’s old-school approach is obvious, but the band lose focus sometimes, what with a six-string filigree the saving grace of suburban ennui behind “Nightmare” and rawness pushing “Pink Champagne” out of screamin’-an’-screechin’ morass. Overall, it’s a strong offering, and really, there’s no going back once it’s out.