Monday, September 24, 2012

... follow blindly "The Paths to Charon" - SKANSKA MORD -

Not as hardly pronounceable as the recently reviewed finnish band Gniyrg Gnaarg but still with a name that sounds mysteriously scandinavian, here's SKANSKA MORD, coming from Sweden and delivering their sophomore album "Paths to Charon"...
Hum... not that mysterious in fact, as this name is a reference to a local  TV serie that was relating about old murders comitted in this swedish land called Skane (thanx Michael Olofsson for the infos !). Knowing this and refering to the gloomy cover of the album, you could then expect something fierce and utterly dark, which would be a real mistake... !
First, let me remember you that this follower to their debut "the Last Supper" is (again) released on Small Stone recordings, an excellent label which obviously likes it HEAVY but is more reckoned for warm, melodic and earthy sounds than some bleak and vicious stuff !
From the first notes of "Dark Caves of our Mind", it won't take you too long to notice that SKANSKA MORD is indeed bringing to the table a sound that drips influences such as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Cream, Black Sabbath, Mountain.... with plenty of heavy guitar riffs - more bluesy and snappy than psychedelic and jamming- , pounding rythms, swirling and harmonious solos. If this had to be affiliated to Stoner, then this is to my ears an approach that could remind Spiritual Beggars, meaning no Metal hints, nor Hippie orientations (which doesn't prevent to sound firmly 70's and slightly psyche...)
Compared to their solid but maybe a bit too timid and classic debut, a prompted work has been matured on the composition and production with a more powerful overall and more varied soundscapes at the same time. Just as example the songs "Lord of Space and Time" and "the Ambassadeur" introduces some stunning Doomy parts, it's nice how then the band's sound gets heavier and darker while keeping its groovy sense of melodies.
Where this was already unappropriated on their debut, I hope that  the  unrelenting  vocals of Janne Bengtsson will now be preserved from any akward comparison with Chris Cornell !? ok his vocals are deep and warm but it can just lead to a false appreciation of the rich extent from his register which is also regularly soulful and earthy like on "a Black Day" or "Addicts", plus uncounsciously or not this could lead to think there's some grunge and/or mainstream hints in here which is absolutely not the case...
The instrumental song "Laggasen" and "Lord of..." (my fave from the album and in my top 3 for THE song of 2013) value a certain taste for some nice progressive structures, both have an epic built edge which bring something more luminous while basically still infectious and bluesy... tasty !
There's certainly not only Witchcraft and Graveyard that deserve attention in the swedish retro-heavy rock scene and this is more than proven here; "Paths to Charon"  is a very very strong concoction of 70's guitar riffs/Heavy rock grooves, full of beautiful melodies that nicely rocks, definitely one of my greatest surprises and fave albums of this year... so now I wisely encourage you to take a deep breath and dive hypnotically into SKANSKA MORD !!!


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