I’ve made no secret of my Sverige fetish since starting this site (and yes, at some point there will be a Swede-only podcast), but when it comes to nailing down a scene as important to the underground heavy as the Swedish one has been, it’s hard to even know where to start this Where to Start.
Let’s be clear: I’m talking about stoner rock only. The nation of Sweden has had a tremendous impact on metal, from Kebnekajse to At the Gates to Witchcraft and Graveyard, but that’s not what I’m interested in. I’m talking about riffs, crashes, fuzz and good vibes. Swedish stoner rock.
Even so, it’s a challenge to narrow down so many killer bands to just a few essentials. If you’re looking to embark on a listening adventure through Sweden‘s contributions to the genre, you should know it’s a serious undertaking that will probably consume years of your life. I’m not kidding. Here are a few bands and albums to get you started (listed alphabetically):
Abramis Brama, Smakar Söndag: Yes, it’s in Swedish. You’ll live.
Asteroid, Asteroid: I’ve talked about this band a lot in the last year-plus. Both of their albums are amazing. Life is but a joke to Dr. Smoke.
Demon Cleaner, Demon Cleaner: One of the original post-Kyuss Swede-stoner acts. They were a little punkier, but still heavy on the riffs.
Dozer, Madre de Dios: I know people have disagreed with me in the past on this album, but it’s more or less the high water mark of Swedish stoner rock. Their later albums on Small Stone are also great.
Greenleaf, Agents of Ahriman: I rate this as one of the best albums of the last decade. If you don’t think so, listen again.
Mustasch, The True Sound of the New West: Like Grand Magus, Mustasch seems to have been able to translate underground popularity to mainstream European success. Their first EP, this predates that but shows their potential all the same.
Spiritual Beggars, Spiritual Beggars: Among the originators of modern Swedish stoner rock. Their 1994 self-titled debut is classic riffy bliss.
Truckfighters, Gravity X: I’d say start with Mania, their latest, instead, but the first album is structurally simpler and a better introduction to the band. When you’re ready to take on some stoner prog genius, then get Mania.
…So many others. The Hellacopters, Roachpowder, Blowback, The Awesome Machine, Dexter Jones’ Circus Orchestra, Dead Man on and on the list goes. And that’s not even counting the doom! Candlemass! Oh man, Sweden is awesome.
Any egregious errors on my part or unforgivable missed favorites, please leave a comment and let me know.
Tags: Sweden, Where to Start