Review & Full Album Stream: Vokonis, Grasping Time

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

vokonis grasping time

[Click play above to stream Vokonis’ Grasping Time in full. Album is out Sept. 6 on The Sign Records.]

Swedish trio Vokonis continue to show the kind of band they’ll become even as they become it. Grasping Time is their third long-player in the last four years, following 2017’s The Sunken Djinn (review here) and 2016’s Olde One Ascending (review here), and serves as their first offering through The Sign Records after releasing through Ripple and Ozium Records, respectively — even the 2015 demo tape Temple (review here) that they released under their old moniker had label backing, from BTNKcllctv in Malaysia. Recorded in 2018, the eight-track/44-minute Grasping Time also marks the final release to feature drummer Emil Larsson, who has since been replaced by Peter Ottoson in the Borås-based lineup with guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson and bassist/vocalist Jonte Johansson. That change feels significant, but as Larsson still features in these songs, it’s hard to know how it will ultimately affect the band’s dynamic.

It is that dynamic, incidentally, that is the story of Grasping Time. Not literally, of course, as the lyrics tell their own tale, but in terms of the sound of the record — captured like its predecessor at Studio Underjord in Norrköping by Joona Hassinen — from the head-down drive that launches opener “Antler Queen” through the post-Elder sway and chug in the finale of the capper “Fading Lights” and the brief guitar contemplation thereafter, the three-piece demonstrate their evolving approach in its latest incarnation as a more progressive and continually growing outfit. Ohlsson and Johansson share vocals effectively throughout the tracks, patient in the melodic delivery in the verses at the outset of “Sunless Hymnal” and gruff as that build kicks into its payoff shortly before the halfway point of the 9:57 longest track. I won’t take away from the breadth Vokonis bring to Grasping Time in “Embers” or even the shorter title-track, which serves as the penultimate inclusion ahead of “Fading Lights,” but “Sunless Hymnal” is an effective summary unto itself of who Vokonis are at this stage in their growth, and reveals the conscious execution with which they’re working.

If Olde One Ascending was where the direction was charted and The Sunken Djinn brought new levels of intensity to the proceedings, then Grasping Time is where Vokonis unveil a new level of ambition. It’s not that they didn’t have progressive aspects to their sound all along, and certainly putting “Antler Queen” first emphasizes the fact that they’re still plenty aggressive when they want to be. What’s shifted is the balance of elements. A greater interplay between Johansson and Ohlsson on vocals brings fresh persona to Vokonis‘ delivery, as even “Antler Queen” demonstrates, moving from its extended quiet break into a low-end-heavy doom roll topped with screams and, yes, a finish of post-rock-style airy guitar. In addition, the songs themselves mirror the duality of their sonic take, complementing each other as the brashness of “Antler Queen” leads into the sweeter beginning of “Sunless Hymnal” and the High on Fire bruiser riffing of the open and close of “I Hear the Siren” bookends a melodic dreamscape all the more resonant with the percussive force and solo shred of the two-minute instrumental “Exiled,” which follows to close out side A.

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And in case you’re not of the camp who believes format matters, the midsection of Grasping Time provides a suitable counterargument. Taken in halves, “Exiled” finishes side A as noted, and the also-just-about-two-minute, also-instrumental “Ashes” launches side B, dropping a few choice basslines beneath some proggy guitar noodling as it does. Fair enough. But in a linear format like CD/DL, the difference is striking. Essentially what happens is Vokonis shift into an instrumental hypnosis mode, with the charged end of “I Hear the Siren” — that last minute or so — gives way to the solo-topped shove of “Exiled,” which culminates with a crash but picks up fluidly in “Ashes” with a brief quiet intro before the full brunt kicks in, and then leads directly into the beginning of “Embers,” the two songs obviously meant to be taken as a pair given their respective titles. Varied and engaging as it is, the intro for “Embers” is another two minutes without vocals, so essentially what happens is Grasping Time has a stretch of about seven of its total 44 minutes, across four different tracks, without a word either from Johansson or Ohlsson.

What that shows is not only their ability to entrance the listener — which that stretch does — but their willingness to follow whatever impulse is going to lead to the best flow for the album as a whole. And the payoff for that is the smack in the face when Ohlsson and Johansson return on “Embers” for the most direct duet-ing they’ve yet done. “Embers” patiently drifts into a lumbering finish and feels something like an apex for Grasping Time, but the title-track continues to broaden the reach of the LP overall, and, again, manifest the progression of Vokonis even as it hints toward future direction for their meld between bruising and soothing impulses, not so much creating a conflict between them, banging them together and seeing what happens, but utilizing both to a singular expressive purpose.

Further proving the whole-album case for Grasping Time is the mirror that “Fading Lights” gives to “Antler Queen” with the return of the harsher screaming later in the track as it finishes its careening run. It underscores the consciousness and intent in the band’s craft, in terms of songwriting as well as structuring the LP, and across the album’s not insignificant span, the control behind Vokonis execution only makes it more impressive how far their reach has expanded in what’s still a relatively short amount of time. Their work has hit the point where one might not feel comfortable predicting where a fourth album might go in terms of sound, other perhaps than to say Vokonis continue to come across with more of an individualized take, whatever influences they may be taking from the modern sphere of heavy around them. With the lineup change bringing in Ottoson, there’s bound to be some shift in approach as a result, intentional or not, but as they prove with Grasping Time, there’s an entire stylistic spectrum they’re able to take and use as a frame for their songwriting. I’d only hope to see that frame’s borders continue to expand as they have thus far.

Vokonis, “I Hear the Siren” official video

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Vokonis Announce New Drummer Peter Ottoson; New Album Title Revealed

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Sweden’s Vokonis are pretty careful in the announcement below not to give away the title of their impending third full-length, which will be issued sometime in the coming months through The Sign Records, but it’s called Grasping Time and on Feb. 2 they’ll have the first single out from the offering, also called “Grasping Time.” So there. The forthcoming album will mark the final contributions of drummer Emil Larsson, who has left the band with Peter Ottoson coming aboard as his replacement alongside guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson and bassist/vocalist Jonte Johansson.

Change is nothing new for Vokonis, whose three albums — 2016’s Olde One Ascending (review here), 2017’s The Sunken Djinn (review here), and the upcoming — have been issued through Ozium RecordsRipple Music and (shift to future tense) The Sign Records, respectively, and who began their career under a different moniker with a different lineup. So, you know, kind of how it goes. Despite or perhaps in some part because of this, the band has never failed to grow from one quick-turnaround release to the next, and I’m not saying I’ve heard it or anything, but their third LP is not an exception to the rule, with Ohlsson and Johansson introducing more depth to the vocal arrangements and sharing duties in that regard more than ever before, as well as pushing themselves in terms of their songwriting.

There will be much more to come on Grasping Time, of course, as we get closer to the release. Here’s the lineup change announcement in the meantime:

vokonis

VOKONIS ANNOUNCE NEW MEMBER

Swedish heavy prog band VOKONIS have announced that drummer Emil Larsson has left the band and replaced by Peter Ottoson.

The band commented:

“Emil has decided to leave Vokonis. There are no bad feelings involved. Emil felt done with the band and wanted to leave the position for a person that would feel love for the songs and the band. The new record we recorded in 2018 will be Emil’s last contributions to the band. We are of course incredibly sad by his decision, but that is life. We are excited to welcome Peter as our new drummer.”

More information on the new album will be announced in the next few months!

Vokonis is:
Simon Ohlsson – guitar/vocals
Jonte Johansson – bass/vocals
Peter Ottoson – drums

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialVokonis/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3DZoit5R0ahZQCNLbDnNxr?si=eh0iJ7YHQQOblw_ztadm1Q
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://www.thesignrecords.com

Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn (2017)

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Vokonis Sign to The Sign Records; New Album Recording in August

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

In addition to an upcoming reissue of their 2016 debut, Olde One Ascending (review here), through Ripple Music — it originally came out on Ozium Records — and the news that they’ll come to the US for the first time this coming Fall, word’s out that Swedish bruisers Vokonis will issue their impending third album through The Sign Records. It’s the follow-up to 2017’s righteous sophomore outing, The Sunken Djinn (review here), which also came out through Ripple, and marks the third LP with the third respectable backing produced by the band on a relatively quick turnaround. Will it be out before the end of the year? Well, October seems like a good time given the traveling they’re set to do, but nothing’s set in stone as of now.

The signing was announced as follows:

vokonis (photo Jennika Photography)

VOKONIS JOINS THE SIGN RECORDS

Swedish heavy prog-metal-trio Vokonis joins The Sign Records. The band is heading into Studio Underjord in August to record their third album. Vokonis have two previous albums on Ripple Records and Ozium Records and have established themselves as one of the strongest new sludge acts out of Scandinavia in recent years. Vokonis is doing their first US-festival the 6th of October at the Doomed & Stoned Festival in Indianapolis. The band will continue with a European tour in late October.

The 28th of July this year Ripple Music will re-release the band debut album “Olde One Ascending” on the 28th of July. In 2019 Vokonis will appear in the movie “Planet Of Doom” with their song “Runa” that was written for the upcoming movie.

“It is with a lot of joy that we in Vokonis present our signing to The Sign Records. We’ve been fans of the label and its bands for years, it’s very honouring to collaborate with them and join The Sign Family. It feels like a natural transition for the band as we take our musical approach towards a more progressive territory. We can’t wait to unveil the heavy riff-barrage that we have for you.”
– Simon, Vokonis

“Vokonis have grown a lot as a band since taking their first steps in 2015. The band has transformed themselves into a progressive alternative rock act that brings to mind the creative freedom that we heard from artists in the 90´s. When we heard the pre-production of the new album we directly understood that Vokonis is terraforming the sludge landscape into a world of their own. We are looking forward to helping the band follow through on their journey”
– Kaj, The Sign Records

VOKONIS is:
Simon Ohlsson: Vocals, Guitar
Emil Larsson: Drums
Jonte Johansson: Bass, Backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialVokonis/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3DZoit5R0ahZQCNLbDnNxr?si=eh0iJ7YHQQOblw_ztadm1Q
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://www.thesignrecords.com

Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn (2017)

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Vokonis Announce Third Album in the Works & March European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

vokonis (photo Jennika Photography)

Because that’s precisely the kind of jerk I am, when Vokonis guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson dropped me a line about announcing the Swedish trio’s upcoming European tour dates this March, there was just about no way I was letting him off the hook without getting an update on the doings for their next album. Call it a hunch, but I figured that given the quick turnaround between their 2016 debut, Olde One Ascending (review here), and last year’s oh-shit-it-turns-out-we’re-way-more-progressive-than-anyone-thought follow-up, The Sunken Djinn (review here) — which by my estimation stood among the very best of 2017 full-lengths — there was a decent chance some riffs were already in the hopper.

And so they are. The band — Ohlsson, bassist Jonte Johansson and drummer Emil Larson — will enter Studio Underjord in Norrköping next month to start pre-production on their third album with plans toward recording later this year. Might be 2019 before the record gets out, but hell, at least we know it’s in progress. Ohlsson says they might even break out a new song or two on the tour. I have the feeling by the time they get through the pre-production process in February, they’ll be too stoked on the new material to not do so. Call it another hunch.

Comment from the band and tour dates follow:

vokonis euro tour

VOKONIS – European Tour March 2018

It’s going to be a lot of fun to see a lot of new places and meet new people. Hopefully will get a chance to meet some of the people that have followed our journey over the internet for these past two years.

Sharing stages with a fellow Ripple Music band is also gonna be super exciting. That goes to show how much we’ve gotten from that partnership. It’s like a whole network of musicians just unlocked at the moment of that press release.

We are set for a pre-production at Studio Underjord for a third album in February. So we’re very active with writing now. Hopefully if everything works out we enter the studio for this new album in late 2018. Can give a better update on that later on.

We’re trying to expand on the progressive parts of our sound, which has proven challenging but equally rewarding. So we’ve dabbled a lot more with clean parts. And more vocals from Jonte (bass).

Other than that I can give a cryptic hint that two already recorded songs will surface on compilations this coming spring/summer.

Vokonis European tour:
15/3 Thursday – Plan B, Malmö, SWE
16/3 Friday – KB18, Copenhagen, Denmark
17/3 Saturday – Chemiefabrik, Dresden, GE
18/3 Sunday – Café ‘T Hert, Joure, NL
19/3 Monday – MS Stubnitz, GE
21/3 Wednesday – Kinky Star, Ghent, BE *
22/3 Thursday – Kids Rhythm n Blues, Antwerpen, BE *
23/3 Friday – Comma, Bruges, BE *
24/3 Saturday – Rock Cafe, Den Helder, NL
* with Fire Down Below

VOKONIS is:
Simon Ohlsson: Vocals, Guitar
Emil Larsson: Drums
Jonte Johansson: Bass, Backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialVokonis/
https://twitter.com/officialvokonis
https://www.instagram.com/vokonisofficial/
https://vokonis.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
www.ripple-music.com

Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn (2017)

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GIVEAWAY: Win a Copy of Vokonis’ The Sunken Djinn from Ripple Music!

Posted in Features on August 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vokonis-the-sunken-djinn-vinyl

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

This past weekend, I hit up Ripple Music and basically said, “How about you let me do a giveaway for Vokonis‘ The Sunken Djinn?” My motive for this couldn’t have been simpler. It’s been a little bit since I reviewed the album and I was kind of feeling like I needed an excuse to underscore the point of its ass-kickery once again. That’s pretty much it. Fortunately, Ripple was down for the whole deal and willing to put the LP up as a prize for one lucky winner to be chosen a week from today.

If you haven’t yet heard it, you can stream The Sunken Djinn in its entirety below and I’d suggest you go ahead and do that, should the notion of “free vinyl” not be enough on its own to get you involved. No doubt the thickened riffery, pointed delivery and righteous groove the Borås, Sweden, three-piece lay down will make a convincing argument in their own favor better than any further slathering from me could, so yeah, just dig in and leave a comment on this post to enter. Have fun.

And of course, please note as always, I’m not keeping, storing or selling any email addresses or other data. This isn’t a mining outfit, it’s a rock blog, and even if I wanted to I wouldn’t have the first friggin’ clue how to go about making money off your personal whatnot. Thanks and good luck to all who enter!

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

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Review & Full Album Stream: Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vokonis the sunken djinn

[Click play above to stream The Sunken Djinn by Vokonis in its entirety. Album is out this Friday, June 9, via Ripple Music.]

With their second album in as many years, Swedish riffers Vokonis answer crucial questions about the kind of band they will be. They make their debut on Ripple Music with The Sunken Djinn, which was recorded at Studio Underjord in Norrköping with Joona Hassinen, and in addition to the quick turnaround — they’ll be a prolific band, perhaps — the trio’s follow-up to 2016’s Ozium Records-issued Olde One Ascending (review here) finds them working consciously to refine their processes. That in itself is telling when it comes to what guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, bassist/backing vocalist Jonte Johansson and drummer Emil Larsson want to convey and accomplish as artists, and from the group’s beginnings in 2015 as Creedsmen Arise, whose demo, Temple (review here), came out through Btnk Cllctv, one can now better trace a creative trajectory on a course of which The Sunken Djinn is playing an essential part.

Comprised of seven songs brought to bear over a rumbling, riffing, and righteous 40 minutes, The Sunken Djinn strips down and focuses Vokonis‘ songwriting in a way that Olde One Ascending, in a year-later hindsight, began to do. The difference is that where the debut was more concerned ultimately with establishing their presence in a crowded underground and standing them out for the impact of their material, tonal heft and lumbering groove, pieces here like “Calling from the Core,” “Rapturous” and the highlight centerpiece “Blood Vortex” — only 4:49 long, but arguably the most effective hook included — build confidently on that foundation and move forward in a way that in all fairness can only be called progressive.

Of course, that’s not to say Vokonis have gone prog. They may get there yet, but to-date, their purpose remains keyed into crushing heavy riffs and nodding out beastmaster rhythms. This is signaled quickly on the opening title-track — also the longest inclusion at 6:51 (immediate points) — as “The Sunken Djinn” introduces itself via Ohlsson‘s dense tonal push and sets to work efficiently in making its way toward the first of The Sunken Djinn‘s several standout choruses. Ohlsson and Johansson have worked smoothly in arranging dual vocals since the latter joined the band prior to the release of Olde One Ascending, and as the opener unfolds to a midsection bridge and plotted solo, their dynamic remains a threat even though it never materializes and instead the band fluidly transition into “Calling from the Core.”

An airier, atmospheric start is met head-on with fervent chug backed by Larsson‘s creative cymbal-ism and with the vocals farther back in the mix, “Calling from the Core” would seem to live up to its name, even as the guitarist and bassist come together once again for the chorus, a particularly Sleep-derived turn of riff that leads to a cleaner-sung couple lines at the halfway point that are yet another answer to where Vokonis might be headed overall. That is, one doubts that will be the last non-shout vocals we’ll hear from them, and fair enough for how well they’re pulled off that first time and the second, which pulls away from lyrics in favor of topping a build at the end of the track with “oohs” that call Greenleaf to mind without sacrificing their own cacophony to do so. Two cuts in and Vokonis have already shown a range that will keep expanding with the lurch of “The Coldest Night.” A more patient, gradual introduction leads to nod-out chug and pummel for what’s arguably the purest onslaught throughout The Sunken Djinn, keeping heft as its root intention as it hammers its central riff into the listener’s skull, departing from it only for a solo in the second half and only to return with even more low-end fuzz fortification from Johansson to close out.

vokonis

Fading residual rumble brings the arrival of the speedier “Blood Vortex,” the most straightforward rocker Vokonis have composed to this point in their career and one well-constructed to make its point about the status of their craftsmanship. Its thrust, its shorter runtime and the fact that it doesn’t necessarily have to depart tonally from its surroundings in order to move at the pace it does make it a standout, and if one considers it an experiment in songwriting — strange to think of what’s basically a classically-structured headbanger as an outfit’s brazen departure moment, but context is everything — the no-nonsense shove and balance of hook and weight once again bode remarkably well for where Vokonis‘ direction might take them. Likewise the dive into feedback and noise that starts the subsequent “Architect of Despair,” a slower crawl of a riff unfurling with Ohlsson and Johansson‘s vocals beneath a winding line that seems to straighten out as it passes the midpoint of the 6:34 run, but proves less about getting to the chorus à la “Blood Vortex” or “The Sunken Djinn” than making the journey itself, which it does with a marked flow into “Rapturous.”

What might be considered the closer, “Rapturous” is a late reinforcement of what The Sunken Djinn has accomplished across its span, taking its time to properly introduce its riff in traditionally stonerized fashion before the vocals arrive, stomping through its verse en route to delivering the title-line as a memorable chorus in the spirit of the album’s landmarks and still offering some expansion of purposes in subtle flourish of guitar melody as even in making their way out, Vokonis can’t seem to resist showcasing a bit of their ongoing growth. That melody comes to further prominence in the song’s second half, and for a moment, it almost seems like they’ll symmetrically bring back the cleaner vocals of “Calling from the Core,” but they don’t actually get there, instead shifting into the three-minute noise outro “Maelstrom” and choose to cap The Sunken Djinn with the opposite kind of experiment as “Blood Vortex.”

By that I mean “Maelstrom” takes Vokonis almost entirely away from the notion of song structure — there is a drum pattern caked in effects, so some motion is provided — in favor of raw noise. It’s a decided and willful shift in approach that seems to set the other end of breadth to what the three-piece consider “fair game” within their approach. Less a highlight — less a “song” — within itself, its statement nonetheless comes through clearly, and it works to answer yet another question about who Vokonis are and can become as a unit. The Sunken Djinn, as final as the title might make it sound — as in, “it’s sunk” — captures Vokonis in medias res as regards their growth as a band, and with it, they share not just a progress update with their burgeoning audience, but a collection of songs that will further help establish them as one of the European underground’s strongest riff-led up and comers. The best of both worlds, then. One wonders if they’ll keep up the studio productivity going forward or shift into more time spent touring over the rest of 2017-2018, but either way, the notice they serve with their second album isn’t to be ignored.

Vokonis, “The Sunken Djinn” official video

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Vokonis Premiere “The Sunken Djinn” Video; Album out June 9 on Ripple Music

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vokonis

In their new video for the title-track of the forthcoming The Sunken Djinn, Swedish trio Vokonis bring their audience into what might be considered their native habitat. That’s otherwise known as Studio Underjord in Norrköping, where the riff-hurling three-piece recorded The Sunken Djinn with Joona Hassinen. As the Borås-based outfit circles up to perform “The Sunken Djinn,” we can see the soft lighting, the tapestries, the posters on the wall and of course the wide array of microphones in that creative environment, and begin to get a better sense of what would lead them to want to record there in the first place. For one thing, it looks really, really clean. Cleaner than any studio I’ve ever been in, certainly.

The Sunken Djinn will serve as Vokonis‘ premiere release through Ripple Music when it arrives on June 9, following up on their well-received 2016 debut, Olde One Ascending (review here), and in addition to the video, the title-track — which also leads off the LP — was released as a 7″ single on May 13 in limited numbers with artwork calling to mind The Expanse‘s protomolecule and a live version of “Olde One,” which opened the first record. Unsurprisingly, that platter has completely sold through its three different limited editions, and I’ve no idea if the band will press up more. If you missed it — hey, I did too. That’s just how it goes sometimes.

If you’ve been paying attention, it’s been a lot of Vokonis around here lately. They led off the last podcast with this very song, they’ve already been interviewed about The Sunken Djinn, and even before I heard the record, they were in my list of 2017’s most anticipated albums. That’s not an accident. What guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, bassist Jonte Johansson and drummer Emil Larsson bring to the tenets of post-Sleep heavy riffage continues to show marked potential even as the band develops their own personality and tightens their songcraft, and I think that’s something definitely worth talking about. This won’t be the last time, either. Look for an album review and full stream on Monday, June 5, and I’m sure more to come after that as well.

Until then, you can enjoy “The Sunken Djinn” below and hopefully get a sense of where Vokonis are coming from with it, or at very least, the place that played a role in its making. Video is directed by Marcus Jehrlander.

Hope you enjoy:

Vokonis, “The Sunken Djinn” official video

Simon Ohlsson on “The Sunken Djinn”:

“When going into the studio to record some songs for an upcoming project we wanted to do a video fitting of the process. To give everyone who have an interest in us a chance to get a closer look at our recording process.”

The Sunken Djinn (LP) by Vokonis is released on 9th June on Ripple Music. Video filmed by Marcus Jehrlander at Studio Underjord.

Entitled The Sunken Djinn, for the Swedish doom trio – featuring guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, drummer Emil Larsson and bassist Jonte Johansson – this album marks a huge leap forward in sound and scope. Still loosely rooted in traditional stoner rock with enough lumbering fuzz riffs and monolithic grooves to keep you in a permanent fog of mystification, this time around their entire approach is tempered by an even darker psychedelic perspective. As best heard on the album’s epic title track, which consists of two parts sonic tapestry and one part bloodied ten-ton hammer.

Vokonis:
Simon Ohlsson – Guitars, Vocals
Emil Larsson – Drums
Jonte Johansson – Bass

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Saturn to Release Beyond Spectra March 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

saturn photo by ester segarra

Following up on the raucous classic style of their 2014 debut, Ascending, Swedish heavy rockers Saturn have announced a March 31 release through Rise Above Records for their second album, Beyond Spectra. The PR wire brings copious background, and its diligence in so doing is appreciated as always, but the takeaway narrative going into the new record seems to be that the band is attempting to look beyond ’70s retroisms fed through ’10s boogie, in concept and sonics alike, and that can only help further distinguish them among Europe’s crowded heavy scene. Shades of mid-’70s metal showing up a few years afterwards in places where one might’ve previously found early-’70s heavy rock? Yeah, that makes sense to me. Bring on the Priestisms.

Oh, and just so I say it out loud, the above photo is by Ester Segarra, who is amazing, and the art below is by Branca Studio, who is amazing.

Dig:

saturn beyond spectra

Saturn To Release Beyond Spectra March 31st via Rise Above Records

Artwork and Track Listing Revealed

Disciples of the heavy metal code don’t just love our music, we need it: to maintain our cultural, personal and – perhaps most importantly – cosmic equilibrium. As a result, there is nothing more essential to our musical lives than bands that tap into our beloved genre’s purest essence and re-imagine that primal magic in brand new and gloriously vivid hues. Sweden’s Saturn more than fit the bill.

Having already proved their worth and potential three years ago with their stunning debut album Ascending, this young band have evolved into something truly extraordinary this time round. In stark contrast to many retro-minded records currently doing the rounds, Beyond Spectra offers much more than affectionate pastiche and Luddite petulance. Instead, this is the sound of red-blooded heavy metal with its eyes focused on the depths of outer space, as the rampaging grooves and analogue hiss of prime ’70s proto-doom, the swaggering boogie braggadocio of UFO and the stately grandeur of Sad Wings-era Priest collide in a mesmerizing shower of irresistible riffs, unearthly melodies and moments of shimmering psychedelia.

“How we have evolved since Ascending? Our guitarist Linkan cut off his dreadlocks and that generally contributed to a good vibe, ha ha!” guitarist Robin Tidebrink laughs. “More seriously, the production of Beyond Spectra is way better. It sounds fatter without loosing that vintage feeling to it. I also think that we’re starting to find our own sound. You could say that every new song that we write is more and more Saturn. I would also say that we’re more comfortable in writing new songs and we know what kind of different elements to add to make it all sound like we want it to.”

Fans of Saturn’s first album will not be freaked out by the band’s great leap forward, but Beyond Spectra is plainly an album driven by a broader vision and an enhanced desire to forge a unique path. Songs like opening intergalactic rager Orbital Command and the sumptuous interwoven dynamics and dark drama of Nighttime Badger proudly proclaim their debt to the pioneering heavy metal greats of the ’70s but there is so much energy, verve and ingenuity on display throughout that Saturn sound much more like the future than the past. That said, Beyond Spectra is also very much an album with its mind on the modern world too.

“The lyrical content on the album tries to explore and compare events in the world today from a historical point of view,” says vocalist Oscar Pehrson. “Both from our personal perspective but also on a more global scale. The album title is a word play on trying to see the world in as many ways as possible and to be able to understand what is going on and where we are going.It is a serious topic but we’re trying to add some humour and fiction to it as well. Music and comedy have the ability to be fun and still deliver a serious message.”

As much as they exist in the present day, it hardly needs stating that Saturn are huge fans of old school, analogue tones and the ageless allure of that classic ’70s hard rock sound. For those with a similar passion for that bygone era, Beyond Spectra offers an object lesson in conjuring ancient vibes and emboldening them with fresh perspective.

“Everything was recorded through two old mixing tables that used to belong to Swedish Radio, the government controlled public service radio, and anything that you run through those tables will sound really warm and sweet,” says Robin. “Another factor is that we didn’t add lots of effects in post-production because we wanted a clean and simple sounding recording.We didn’t do any overdubs on this album…and we didn’t on Ascending either! It’s kind of tricky, because when somebody goes off to do a solo and you only have one rhythm guitar it can sound kind of weak… but that’s part of the charm! It’s more honest in a way. I believe that’s a huge factor in how the final record sounds.”

The sound of yesterday, filtered through the limitless refractions of an unknown future but rooted firmly in the here and now, Beyond Spectra pulls off the neat and laudable trick of getting everything right and making it look easy, while also offering great substance to stir the soul and a few, jolting shots of originality and effortless cool. If you’re lacking some steel in your aural diet, look no further. This band’s fascinating voyage into virgin skies looks certain to provide all the nourishment you could ever need.

Beyond Spectra Track Listing:
1. Orbital Command
2. Wolfsson
3. Nighttime Badger
4. Linkans Delight
5. Electrosaurus Sex
6. Still Young
7. Force of the North
8. Helmet Man
9. Silfvertape
10. Sensor Data

http://www.saturnsweden.com
https://www.instagram.com/saturnsweden/
https://www.facebook.com/SaturnSweden
https://www.facebook.com/riseaboverecords/
www.riseaboverecords.com

Saturn, “Rokktori” official video

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