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(44:41, Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Jag an en Trollkarl 3:31 2. Soderslantsblues 4:50 3. Imuranans Kaflar 4:27 4. Kallar-lony 4:31 5. Pengar 4:35 6. Mdrig Har Jag Velat 6:01 7. Ilyfs Och Fason 4:21 8. Jalverns Svarta Djup 6:28 9. Fri 2:31 10. Never in My Life 3:21 LINEUP: Kenny-Oswald Sjodin – guitar; vocals Knut Hassel – guitar Anders Nord – drums Magnus Hasselstam – bass
Prolusion. This 10-track album, “Morka Vatten”, is the debut outing by GUDARS SKYMMING, from Sweden. It was released by the Italian label Black Widow Records some six months ago.
Analysis. Once you crown your ears :-) with headphones and begin listening to the disc, the first track, Jag an en Trollkarl, will hail you with a power fuzzed-out, typically British-style ‘70s progressive hard rock-meets-doom metal, only with Swedish lyrics. The band seems to jam with early Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin circa “IV”, delivering either edgy ‘metallic’ or somewhat laid-back bluesy solos – more often behind than over the surface of chugging riffs. Then follows Soderslantsblues, which is my favourite piece on the disc. While the composition and attitude are here basically the same as before, the music is better filled out with metalloids, and the arrangements – particularly those within the track’s second and third instrumental sections – are more diverse and unpredictable, adding a whole new dimension to the sound. The singer’s approach to crossing the riffs by his vocal melodies (as opposed to singing along those: in unison or in fourth or fifth), which he does everywhere on the album, is rooted in the mid rather than in the early ‘70s, perfectly matching the music and the above idiom in particular. Before describing the rest of the material I must note that, once someone else’s influence appears it is featured on most of the following songs as well (the only two exceptions to this rule will be named in due time), no matter that it may be barely detectable at times. Further on, the music is still ‘70s-style guitar-driven progressive hard rock, but with a lesser quantity of raspy riffs, and also ones that are drawn-out in delivery, i.e. those referring directly to Doom Metal. Deep Purple’s influence appears to be a dominant one on the next two tracks, Imuranans Kaflar and Kallar-lony, and also on Ilyfs Och Fason, Jalverns Svarta Djup and Fri, while on the fifth piece, Pengar, the band pays homage mainly to Led Zeppelin. Finally, Mdrig Har Jag Velat and Never in My Life are both reminiscent throughout of Nazareth (except for the vocals which, to some degree, remind me of a cross between Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale’s everywhere on the album). Most of the compositions named in the last two sentences stand out for their extended instrumental arrangements, which frequently shift in direction, let alone theme, and are of a high progressive quality. Only Imuranans Kaflar, Fri and Never in My Life (a bonus track, the only one with English lyrics) are lacking in progressive features to a certain extent. In all cases, the complexity is drawn from the arrangements of the music, but not from the initial composition, as the basic chordal structure is comparatively simple. Nonetheless, even the least complex moments of this album are good, since the band has deeply felt the atmosphere of the ‘70s and has very well reproduced it.
Conclusion. That being said, these Swedish musicians proudly wear their influences, as most of the time they use those so as to ornament their own musical clothes (okay, fabrics), never quoting the bands they’re inspired by. Instantly plunging the listener into the aura of the ‘70s, their “Morka Vatten” is almost in all senses full-fledged classic progressive hard rock release. There is plenty here to please you – if you’re a fan of the style, as I am. Those who have ever looked into my metal bandlist(s) are in the know that my progressive diet is quite varied: all of the above artists are present there.
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