The Soda Shop
When the first note of Skånska Mord forced itself into my skull at 6:45 a.m
. I knew that I didn’t have a choice. They already had my head bobbing, my lungs burning, and my soul soaring. Formed from the remains of Half Man and Mothercake, these guys have constructed an impressive first effort.
A beast stomping through the darkest wood best describes the first track. “Under the Volcano”. The notes are thick, tuned down and spaced in such a way that Janne Bengtsson rips through your merciful ears with a voice that Chris Cornell can only truly appreciate. Add in the fact that I imagine him positioned into a semi-fetal position in the vain of Joe Cocker, straining and pleading his lyrics, and you have a knockout for the first track.
“Things are Quiet Out There” sneaks up with a vengeance and the evidence of Sabbath-inspired-blues reveal themselves. Sleepy bass with moments of the sweetest, weepiest guitar move through this track and carries itself into the next song, “Doghouse”.
“The Journey” lives up to its name and you feel like you’re on a carriage being manned by Ozzy (circa 1970s) and driven by a band of acid enriched horses. Not trippy. Just a little unpredictable in all the right ways. Thick, charming, and full of doom.
“Two in the morning” and “Daybreak” start with a harmonica frenzy, then slip back into the sludge. Particularly on “Daybreak” do we hear the boys from Sweden methodically move through the slumber of doom.
“111” comes straight from the vaults of Clutch. A foot tappin mix of southern rock with the “preacher-style” singing of Neil Fallon. Sticking with the preacher idea, “The Hermit” sets the band in an abandoned cathedral with a grinding pace and an organ sound that makes you want to repent. This song crawls along the pews and demands you to bow your head and listen.
The album finishes with the 9 minute title track. Like most songs on this album, a journey is going to ensue. The song ebbs and flows from hard driven doom to a hippie induced strum along. The middle of the song lives up to the banner of stoner rock, with an impressive jam session.
Small Stone Recording have a slew of talented bands, and their addition of Skånska Mord only solidifies the labels efforts. This album moves along the edges of a windy dirt road that snakes its way through the darkest corners of the forest. Effortlessly moving forward, but with a constant gaze of what has been.