First Malmö, then the world: those about to die salute heavy blues heroes and come into their own.
Capturing the sound of British blues was never a problem for those about to rock; it’s the Northern spirit that’s hard to catch – which is why, perhaps, it took a bunch of Swedes to come up with a bittersweet molasses of this album. Still, carrying on the legacy of Paul Rodgers and Tony Iommi, the Scanian quartet sound rather modern in the traditional element, and their songs demonstrate a deliciously predatory taste. But the chase wouldn’t be the only game on display, so if “Fox In A Hole” is a soulful piece of quiet reflection, “Pack Of Wolves” feels as exciting as a wild hunt may be even before Nils Lindström’s vocals slide into a howl.
And it’s not about the game, really, what with the politically charged “True Believers” serving as a display for the band’s belligerence – elevated by Johan Helgesson’s theater of percussion – while, despite its title, “Death On Your Trail” where punchy beats set the record on a steady course breathes life through pregnant pauses in its funky groove. Overall dark atmosphere may add to the drive of “Vicious Malicious,” and “Beautiful Nights” has a perfect bluesy gloom woven into acoustic fibre before Peter Broch’s bass is locked into Petter Rudnert’s guitar to evoke a pull of a nightmare; that’s why “Keep You Smiling” can’t deliver on the epic promise of sparse desperation whose peak is packed in a tightly coiled solo. But, bouncing through more motorik motions, “Ball Of Fire” boasts a memorable refrain, and “Karma” is unexpectedly playful, if still heavy, so this suicide is really sweet as a result.
Vicious, then? Of course! Malicious? By no means!