I?ve been going over in my head how exactly to get around saying Sk?nska Mord is generic, but ultimately, there?s really no way to do it. If stoner rock has any kind of traditionalism, then The Last Supper, the Small Stone Records debut from the Swedish five-piece is it. The 10 tracks of the album offer few surprises, focusing instead on meaty ?70s riffs with the occasional additions of harmonica and organ that, although welcome, aren?t off the wall as far as non-guitar/bass/drums instrumentation goes. Especially in this genre.
With two members of Half Man — vocalist Jan Bengtsson and bassist Patric Carlsson — and three from Mothercake — drummer Thomas J?nsson and guitarists Patrik Berglin and Petter Englund — Sk?nska Mord comes with built in interest for those who?ve been around the scene for a while, but The Last Supper still needs to stand on its own as a quality release before it?s going to be accepted. And for the most part, it does. A trio of tracks toward the latter half of the album, ?In the Dark,? ?111? and ?The Hermit? are all highlights, and earlier rockers ?A Journey? and opener ?Under the Volcano? satisfy any riff cravings that might pop up. It?s just straightforward stoner rock. If that?s what you?re looking for, then Sk?nska Mord is what you need.
Bengtsson has a bit of a Cornell fetish, but his voice isn?t out of place over Berglin or Englund?s guitars, and the rock is brought capably throughout. The only real issue I have with the album is that there isn?t much special about it. For a country that produced the likes of Dozer, Truckfighters, The Awesome Machine, Asteroid and countless other quality bands, these guys just aren?t quite there yet. Not so say they won?t ever be — and with the bluesy feel throughout, Sk?nska Mord aren?t trying for the same fuzzy sound as the aforementioned — but there?s a personality that needs further development in the band if they?re to make a genuine name for themselves in the international scene.
Still, The Last Supper is a sans-bullshit trip down the familiar path of true rock and roll, and that?s rarely a bad thing. It may not be album of the year, but Sk?nska Mord make an engaging debut nonetheless that is just waiting for the right mood and vibe to be appreciated. One has to wonder how dudes living in a country so damn cold can make such good barbecue music. However they do it, be glad they do. There are some moments where Sk?nska Mord truly shine on their debut, and hopefully they use them as the touchstones of their evolution going forward. Rock.
Tags: Sk?nska Mord, Small Stone, Sweden