Heavy Psych Sounds Announces Reissues for Solarius, B.U.S. the Unknown Secretary and Stonewall Noise Orchestra

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

A never-released 2006 EP from Solarius, who featured Graveyard’s Jonatan Ramm on guitar and vocals, a reissue of B.U.S. The Unknown Secretary‘s 2016 debut (review here), and another reissue, of Stonewall Noise Orchestra‘s 2005 debut album, Vol. 1. Heavy Psych Sounds is sending multiple signals here. First, that its reissue program, which has already fostered revisits to outings from Dozer, Nebula, Kylesa, Josiah, Sgt. Sunshine, and others, will continue to dig into the pre-social-media era of underground heavy and find treasure waiting to be unearthed. Stonewall Noise Orchestra alone proves that, and Solarius feels like a flex there too.

It may be that B.U.S. have been picked up by Heavy Psych Sounds for their next outing — they released an album in 2019 (review here) on RidingEasy that was killer and showed them as underrated — but either way, five years later, their first one is worth another look, and it demonstrates the ever-increasing reach of HPS to do what it wants and when. The Italian label is the go-to for heavy rock and roll and psych in Europe. Their reissues are a victory lap in that regard.

Do Norrsken‘s complete works next.

Info and preorder links follow, courtesy the PR wire:

HPS183 *** SOLARIUS – Universal Trial ***
– first press of the 2006’s unreleased EP feat. members of Graveyard –

We are extremly proud to start the presale of the SOLARIUS 2006’s unreleased EP UNIVERSAL TRIAL !!

ALBUM PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS183

USA PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm#HPS183

Recorded back in 2006 and hidden up until now. Swedish retro rockers Solarius masterpiece “Universal Trial” is now brought to daylight with this release. 70’s groovy hard blues rock with a psychedelic twist and featuring Jonatan Ramm of Graveyard fame (before joining that band). Hard, groovy, soft and fuzzy sound that brings you back to the early 70’s.

The songs were recorded in Don Pierre Studios in Gothenburg produced by the legendary Don Alsterberg (Graveyard etc). The master tapes were forgotten but are now found and released on Heavy Psych Sounds Records. The recording is 100% analogue and recorded and mixed on tape. The songs gets its magic from a beautiful mix of groove, melodies, fuzzy hard rock and dreamful psych prog rock influences.


Universal Trial – 4.58
Sky Of Mine – 4.14
Into The Sun – 6.26
Mother Nature Mind – 5.25

Jonatan Ramm – Guitar and vocals
Mattias Ohde – Bass and vocals
Fredrik Aghem – Drums
Johan Grettve – Keys

B.U.S. The Unknown Secretary

HPS184 *** B.U.S. – The Unknown Secretary ***
– repress of the 2016’s debut album –

We are extremly proud to start the presale of the B.U.S. 2016’s debut album THE UNKNOWN SECRETARY repress !!

ALBUM PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS184

USA PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm#HPS184

In the beginning, there was chaos…

A while later in the Heavens, where angels reigned, there was once held a great symposium, a glorious feast. Everyone was happy and having a great time, until Lucifer, fairest and mightiest of all the angels, brought in suspicious and strange substances, offering them freely with both hands for everyone to take. All were fooled by the Ancient Serpent, starting to misbehave and act in contradiction to the Heavenly Laws. The Almighty God, enraged upon learning about the mutiny, threw everyone down on earth to suffer eternally in hunger, ugliness and desperation. Vulnerable now to each and every temptation, they are ready to perpetuate Good and Evil, while building their new earthly Kingdom in any way they can.

Angelic chants, Demon’s screams, witches dancing and woeful mortal suffering are recounted in this album’s songs, embellished with mesmerising hymns and sharp riffs. Chaos is always close and all that remains is the human revolution against the forces of evil.

“The Unknown Secretary” comes to further unsettle the turbulent waves of music and burn its own mark in history.

Today, five years after its original release, Heavy Psych Sounds reissues this retro gem, serving it once again straight into your record case.



A1 Fallen – 3:33
A2 Masteroid – 4:45
A3 New Black Volume – 4:53
A4 Forever Grey – 3:28
A5 Don’t Fear Your Demon – 5:04
B1 Rockerbus – 7:38
B2 Withered Thorn – 4:49
B3 Over The Hills – 4:56
B4 Jimi – 5:20

B.U.S. is:
Bill Politis – Vocals & Guitars
Dimitris Papavasileiou – Bass Guitar
Aris Fasoulis – Drums
Fotis Kolokithas – Guitars

stonewall noise orchestra vol. 1

– repress of the legendary album in new coloured versions –

We are also stoked to start the presale of the STONEWALL NOISE ORCHESTRA legendary debut album VOL. 1 repress !!

ALBUM PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS190

USA PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm#HPS190

VOL. 1 is the legendary debut album of the swedish stonerockers Stonewall Noise Orchestra, released via Daredevil Records in 2005 featuring ex members from Demon Cleaner and Greenleaf!! This is a Stoner Rock masterpiece picked with some Black Sabbath and Hawkwind fragments! If you like it slow, heavy and straight in your face you can’t miss this one.

After more then 15 years Heavy Psych Sounds decided to give a new life to this masterpiece and repress it in completely new coloured vinyl versions.



Superfortress – 5:05
An Epic Curse – 7:41 (CD BONUS TRACK)
Two Sides Of A Sin – 4:51
As My Sun Turns Black – 3_51
Freedoms Prize (Demon Cleaner cover) – 5:21
Going To Clarksdale – 4:33
Evolution? – 5:28
High Octane Fever – 5:14
Hill Street Madman – 3:49
Sweet Queen – 4:49

Lars-Inge – vocals
Snicken – guitar
Jansson – guitar
Jonas – bass
Mr. Pillow – drums


Solarius, “Universal Trial”

Stonewall Noise Orchestra, “Sweet Queen”

B.U.S., The Unknown Secretary (2016)

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Video Interview: Tommi Holappa of Greenleaf on Making Echoes From a Mass and More

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on April 27th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

greenleaf (Photo by Peder Bergstrand)

Swedish heavy rockers Greenleaf released their eighth full-length, Echoes From a Mass (review here), on March 26 through Napalm Records. At 20 years removed from their debut album, 2001’s Revolution Rock (discussed here), it is only their second full-length in their career to be made with an entirely consistent lineup. With founding guitarist Tommi Holappa as ever at the core, Echoes From a Mass brings him together again with vocalist Arvid Hällagård and drummer Sebastian Olsson, who  both arrived with 2014’s Trails and Passes (review here), and bassist Hans Frölich, who made his first appearance on 2018’s Hear the Rivers (review here). What started and was for more than its first decade a classic, heavy ’70s-style side-project for Holappa from his main outfit at the time, Dozer, has now been a working, touring band for seven years, consistent now in a way they’ve never been before.

Tommi Holappa, in addition to being one of his generation’s foremost heavy rock songwriters, has a smile that is infectious. We’ve spoken any number of times over the years between Dozer and Greenleaf, and it was a pleasure to do so again. He’s a nice guy, and when he talks about writing music for Greenleaf as an increasingly complex process of chasing what feels right, it’s easy to believe it. There has always been an organic sensibility to his craft. Not that the songs aren’t worked on — he talks about hammering out the tracks on Echoes From a Mass in jams with Olsson from which Frölich was excluded due to pandemic restrictions; former bassist/producer Bengt Bäcke stepped in for some — but that even for being thought through, they hold onto the inspired spark out of which they flourished.

I was particularly interested to talk about Greenleaf as a full, stable-lineup band with Holappa not only for the novelty, but for his being able to put material together with these players in mind, the trust that must inherently emerge from working together over a longer stretch of time. I don’t think Greenleaf‘s lineup — fluid as it’s been — has ever included outright strangers as opposed to friends and peers in other bands, up to and including Dozer, LowriderTruckfighters and others, but that’s different than being in the same band with someone for years, and you can hear that difference in the space Holappa gives Hällagård‘s vocal melodies on the opener “Tides” and other songs from the record. That trust is there. And also some jazz, apparently.

It was Friday afternoon after a long week, but great to chat just the same. I hope you enjoy and thanks for watching.

Greenleaf, Echoes From a Mass Interview with Tommi Holappa, April 23, 2021

Greenleaf‘s Echoes From a Mass is out now on Napalm Records. More info available at the links below.

Greenleaf, “Tides” official video

Greenleaf on Thee Facebooks

Greenleaf on Instagram

Greenleaf at Napalm Records

Napalm Records website

Napalm Records on Thee Facebooks

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Skraeckoedlan Stream “Arise the Sun” Single Marking Debut’s 10th Anniversary

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 20th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan arise the sun

So, the original version was a Swedish title with English lyrics appearing on Skraeckoedlan‘s 2011 debut, Äppelträdet (review here). Now titled “Arise the Sun,” what was “Soluppgång” before has Swedish lyrics. Opposite the title. If you manage to keep that straight before actually listening to one song or the other, you’ll have done better than me.

Actually, it took me a little bit (before I saw the info below, obviously) to work out which song on Äppelträdet “Arise the Sun” corresponded with. If you take the roots it makes sense. “Sol” relates to sol, solar, the sun. And I know from Dutch that “utgang” is exit, so it makes sense that “uppgång” in Swedish would be relatively close to getting up, or rising. So, sunrise, basically. “Arise the Sun.” I wish I could say I was linguistically talented enough to have worked that out just reading the titles beforehand, but no. I matched the riffs. “Soluppgång” was the second track on Äppelträdet and is readily recognizable from that position in its new incarnation.

This is the second single the Borlänge four-piece have issued to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their first long-player — their most recent was 2019’s Eorþe (review here) — coming behind “Universum” which arrived in February. As I recall, this was to be a series of three, so that puts them on track for June for the last one? I guess that’ll be “Doedaroedlan,” which opened side B of the original vinyl. Here’s looking forward, whenever it arrives.


Skraeckoedlan, “Arise the Sun”

“Arise the Sun” by SKRAECKOEDLAN out now!
Stream the single: https://orcd.co/arisethesun

If you’ve heard Skraeckoedlan’s 2011 debut album “Äppelträdet”, you probably recognize this massive track. “Arise the Sun” was originally released with English lyrics, with the title “Soluppgång.”

Celebrating their 10 year anniversary, Skraeckoedlan has re-recorded the track, this time with Swedish lyrics. “Arise the Sun” is mastered by Cult of Luna’s Magnus Lindberg.

Enjoy it loud, and stay tuned – More anniversary releases from Skraeckoedlan TBA!

Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Erik Berggren – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

Skraeckoedlan, “Soluppgång” from Äppelträdet (2011)

Skraeckoedlan, Eorþe (2019)

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

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Album Review: Greenleaf, Echoes From a Mass

Posted in Reviews on March 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

greenleaf echoes from a mass

Behold Greenleaf in their element. The Swedish heavy rockers date back to the turn of the century with their someday-I-will-own-that-vinyl self-titled EP, and Echoes From a Mass is their eighth album and third for Napalm Records. It arrives some 20 years on from their 2001 debut, Revolution Rock (discussed here), and finds them a more stable band than perhaps founding guitarist Tommi Holappa, also of Dozer, ever expected them to be.

Crucially, this is the fourth offering since Arvid Hällagård came aboard as vocalist, and like each of its predecessors, it finds the Holappa/Hällagård dynamic growing in exciting ways that are only bolstered by the rhythm section of bassist Hans Frölich and drummer Sebastian OlssonHolappa has always been a songwriter as the catalogs of Greenleaf and Dozer both demonstrate, but with Echoes From a Mass even more than 2018’s Hear the Rivers (review here), the guitar parts sound as though they were constructed with the vocal accompaniment in mind.

From opener “Tides” onward through the 10-track/46-minute release, Greenleaf and longtime-associate/producer Karl Daniel Lidén create a world with these songs that is at once contemplative as the boldly-chosen leadoff is, and also decidedly blues-based, as cuts like “Good God I Better Run Away,” “Bury Me My Son” and “Hang On” demonstrate. Hear the Rivers and 2016’s Rise Above the Meadow (review here) before it seemed to reach for the same kind of spaciousness in sound — Hällagård‘s first record with the band, 2014’s Trails and Passes (review here), was somewhat more earthbound in its production — and Echoes From a Mass pushes further in inhabiting that space, with melodies floating in vocals echoes above even what in other contexts might be a driving straightforward riff on “Love Undone” or a hook conjured by lead guitar in early cut “Needle in My Eye.”

As one would expect, it’s not all atmospherics and moody sounds, with Olsson leading the way into “Good God I Better Run Away” and the title-line there making for one of the album’s most memorable impressions — there’s stiff competition — or (presumed) side B opener “A Hand of Might” with its classic and signature Holappa boogie, each riff cycle seeming to try to push the one before it out of its way en route to the listener. The tradeoffs throughout between loud and quiet, faster and subdued, etc., bring to light the chemistry in the band at this point.

This is Frölich‘s second long-player with GreenleafOlsson‘s fourth, and, as noted, Hällagård‘s fourth. For a band who throughout the last 20 years has seen players come and go, come and go and come and go, the solidified lineup feels like a novelty, but it’s one that allows for a new kind of development in the band’s sound and purpose. It’s not just about Holappa paying homage to classic ’70s rock anymore — in fact it hasn’t been for some time — but about what this whole group brings to the material.

To wit, the near-proggy rhythmic tension coinciding with the chug of “Needle in My Eye” and the thickened stomp in the penultimate “On Wings of Gold,” which suitably enough seems to take flight ahead of closer “What Have We Become,” that quieter, purposefully understated finish a key-laced showpiece for Hällagård and an occasion to which he every bit rises.

greenleaf (Photo by Peder Bergstrand)

The same could be said of everyone throughout, and though one doesn’t necessarily go to ‘album number eight’ as a landmark happening in the tenure of a given group, Greenleaf engage a somewhat fraught emotional perspective — see titles like “Good God I Better Run Away,” “Needle in My Eye,” “Love Undone” and “Bury Me My Son” — early on and answer with a bit of hope in “Hang On” and “On Wings of Gold” before finally looking back to ask “What Have We Become” at the end. The answer to that question is, at least as far as the album is concerned, that Greenleaf have become a full band with an increasingly complex perspective and a greater depth of sound than they’ve ever had before.

Considering the places Greenleaf have gone stylistically in their time — still under an umbrella of heavy rock, but ever more characteristically so — that’s not saying nothing, but to hear even the downer sway in “Bury Me My Son” as it moves into the bell-of-the-ride hits that start the creeping-into-surge intro of “A Hand of Might,” the subtle turn of defeat to persistence isn’t lost, and the rush of that track helps the band build momentum as they move through Echoes From a Mass‘ second half, with “March on Higher Grounds” arriving not with fanfare but as a melodic highlight nonetheless. Its riff careens deceptively forward and and where one might expect Hällagård to belt it out in the hook à la “Bury Me My Son,” the decision otherwise speaks to how able Greenleaf are at this point to see the bigger picture of what the album needs at any given point.

The flow continues through “Hang On” and “On Wings of Gold” as one would hope, with the latter the longest track at 6:28 and the crescendo for the LP as a whole, bringing together the blues and the heft and the space and putting everything in its proper place without losing the emotional force behind it — that force only getting further prevalence on “What Have We Become,” which seems to call back to “Tides” even as it refuses the temptation to hit into the same kind of largesse. Or maybe that’s just me going back to the start and playing the record again.

Either way, as a fan of GreenleafEchoes From a Mass excites not only in the continued quality of its songwriting — Holappa is name-brand as far as that goes — but in the increasing cohesion of its performance and how the production seems to highlight the band simply melting together as a single unit. It is immersive and progressive in a way Greenleaf have not always sought to be, and that too stands as testament to just how special they are, to be trying and achieving new things and building on their past in this manner some 21 years on. One of 2021’s best in heavy rock, no question.

Greenleaf, “Love Undone” lyric video

Greenleaf, “Tides” official video

Greenleaf on Thee Facebooks

Greenleaf on Instagram

Greenleaf at Napalm Records

Napalm Records website

Napalm Records on Thee Facebooks

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Arvid Hällagård of Greenleaf & Pools

Posted in Questionnaire on March 3rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

arvid hallagard greenleaf

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Arvid Hällagård

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Well I sing and I write melodies and lyrics. And I think I have been doing it since I was around 10 years old. I started by impersonating singers that I liked. Vocalists like Jim Morrison, Otis Redding, Joe Cooker and many more. Songs just got stuck in my head and I walked around humming for hours without an end. Trying to figure out how and why they sounded so cool. I didn’t even know English back then I just faked the sounds sort of. My dad had a really cool record collection and that’s how I found all that good stuff. Just going through all of his vinyls and CDs.

Describe your first musical memory.

Well there is this Swedish jazz song called “Visa Från Utanmyra.” It’s a hybrid between old Swedish folk music and jazz. I recall my mom singing it when I was a kid. It’s a really beautiful melody. And think that’s my first memory of music.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Oh wow! Hard question, I think maybe it was one of the earlier tours just when Trails & Passes came out. We had been doing alright with around a 100 people per show and then we played Berlin for the second time and 500 suddenly showed up. They knew my lyrics from the first riff and on. That was amazing. Just hearing the crowd call out: “Open up your eyes, don’t trust their lies.” I still smile when I think of that moment.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

All the time, when you’re touring a lot. And at the end you always think: OK this is it. But then you’re home again for a couple of weeks haha. The rush is just too good. I can’t live without it I think.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Hard to say. With Greenleaf it’s sort of like a solid old steam train. It rolls on as long as you put enough coal in it. And it always takes a new path, but slowly. My way of progressing is by listening to new stuff all the time that necessarily does not come from the genre we are playing. I try to find stuff outside the box that inspires me. And in the end that stuff that got down on tape rarely sounds the way you imagined it in your head. But hopefully good enough haha.

How do you define success?

I guess for me a really successful person for me isn’t necessarily someone that’s rich or famous. More a person that is truly happy with what they’re doing and how they live. I dream of having a small house in the countryside, a small but functional studio, tour now and then when you feel the urge. And for the rest of the time just spending time with the family and being creative. That’s maybe my definition of success. Really I’m just happy people dig the stuff we are doing. It’s a rare thing and I feel very humble about it.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Nothing really if you mean concert wise. It’s always an experience. Even if it sounds like dogshit.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

At some point I’d really like to record an old sounding soul record. With horns and everything. Preferably in the US somewhere. On holy land haha. Just for my own personal pleasure. It doesn’t even have to be released, it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do. Moan my way through the songs, singing my heart out.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Well I think you have to at some degree be happy with what you created. If you are it’s all good. At the end you do it for yourself. Other people enjoying it should be seen as a bonus.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

The summer here in Sweden, it’s been dark and cold for a long time now. Especially with this isolation. I want to be able to jump in the lake and bike through a summer breeze.


Greenleaf, “Love Undone” official lyric video

Pools, “Looking for Trouble” official video

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Greenleaf Post “Love Undone” Lyric Video; Echoes From a Mass Preorder Available

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

greenleaf (Photo by Peder Bergstrand)

We’re into March now, and soon enough we’ll be drawing to a close the first quarter of 2021. Greenleaf‘s Echoes From a Mass is my first serious contender for album of the year. Will it be? Hell if I know. We still have about 10 months of the year left at this point, but my list already has 18 records on it and I can’t think of one that beats it at this point. If you have, I’d love to know what.

So I’m sure whatever you’re listening to right now — because all we do all day is listen to music, right? what else is there? — is really cool, but you might want to hit pause and check out the lyric video below for “Love Undone” from Echoes From a Mass. It’s not necessarily a complete picture of everything the veteran Swedish four-piece are doing throughout their eighth long-player, but it does give a relevant example of some of the melancholy underpinning their bluesy rock even when uptempo and catchy as ever, and it’s three and a half of the least regrettable minutes one might spend on a given day.

Plus, as Napalm Records lyric videos will, it plays off the artwork, which in this case works particularly well since the lettering is so much of the character of the cover. Plus I’m a sucker for art-deco in general, so it hits on that aesthetic level as well.

PR wire info follows, including the preorder link, as usual. You know the drill.


Greenleaf, “Love Undone” official lyric video

Pre-Order the new full-length Echoes From A Mass NOW!

Swedish heavy stoner rock favorites GREENLEAF are about to draw their listeners deeper into their maelstrom of buzzing guitars and hallucinogenic vocals: The four-piece have just released their second single, “Love Undone”, along with an artful lyric video cut from their upcoming album, Echoes From A Mass, out March 26 via Napalm Records. Their new track delivers an uncompromisingly heavy soundtrack to a tragic past love story, drenched in the hypnotizing GREENLEAF trademark sound and shrouded in a sludgy, heavy journey of extended riffage.

Once again, GREENLEAF prove that they dare to think outside the box and deliver a heavy roller comprised of Sebastian Olsson’s rumbling drumming performance, fuzzy guitars, Fröhlich’s haunting bass lines, Arvid Hällagård’s powerful yet ghoulish vocals and undeniable, heavy stoner, southern desert and blues vibes. Echoes From A Mass was recorded at Studio Gröndahl in October 2020 by former band member Karl Daniel Lidén, who also mixed and mastered the record at Tri-Lamb Studios. Lidén is recognized for his work with well-known acts such as Katatonia, Bloodbath, Lowrider and Crippled Black Phoenix, to name a few.

Arvid Hällagård – vocals
Tommi Holappa – guitar
Hans Fröhlich – bass
Sebastian Olsson- drums

Greenleaf on Thee Facebooks

Greenleaf on Instagram

Greenleaf at Napalm Records

Napalm Records website

Napalm Records on Thee Facebooks

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Dozer Interview & Full Album Stream Pt. 6: Beyond Colossal

Posted in Features on February 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Dozer‘s fifth and final (to-date) long-player, 2008’s Beyond Colossal (discussed here), has been reissued on Heavy Psych Sounds along with its predecessor, 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens (discussed here; also discussed here) and the collection of demos for that album, Vultures (review here; discussed here), first released in 2013 by the band itself. With Beyond Colossal — originally on Small Stone — out again, Heavy Psych Sounds has completed the Dozer catalog, having also overseen new editions of 2002’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed here; also discussed here), 2001’s Madre de Dios (discussed here) and their debut LP, 2000’s In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here).

One does not in the least envy the task that was before the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa, bassist Johan Rockner and then-new-recruit drummer Olle Mårthans. They were coming off their most realized vision yet in Through the Eyes of Heathens and had a desire to push it further, yet the songs still had to feel right to them as players. They still had to be Dozer, and headed toward album five, you can bet there were feelings about what that meant.

As a swansong, Beyond Colossal is almost tragically good. It is nothing less than exactly the album Dozer should’ve made and needed to make, building on the more aggressive stance of its predecessor, holding strong to the basic underlying craft that results in hooks like charging opener “The Flood,” “Exoskeleton (Part II),” as well as “Empire’s End” and “Two Coins for Eyes,” both of which feature Clutch‘s Neil Fallon sitting in on vocals, but also the subdued finish “Bound for Greatness” and the rush between “Message Through the Horses” and the cascading “The Throne,” so much of the record flowing in a way suited to the vinyl treatment it’s been given, but carrying a seemingly unstoppable momentum from front-to-back.

Don’t go calling Beyond Colossal the last Dozer album just yet, apparently. The band posted studio pictures on social media last month and who knows what that might mean. Rockner, in wrapping up this interview series, gives hints of more to come as well. Here’s hoping.

Enjoy, and thanks for reading:

dozer beyond colossal

Beyond Colossal Q&A with Johan Rockner

On some levels, Beyond Colossal is the most aggressive album Dozer wrote. What was driving the band at this time?

I think we just wanted to move forward. But at the same time, I don’t recall us saying “let’s make a different album”, it just happened.

For me, when you listen to those two last albums, you can hear the development, those two albums kind of work well together. They are not far away from each other, like Madre de Dios and Call it Conspiracy.

I know we really liked the sound of “Big Sky Theory” and “Until Man Exists No More” from THEOH, those songs are dropped in tune. I guess we liked the idea of taking that to the next level.

Tell me about following up Through the Eyes of Heathens. You had Troy Sanders from Mastodon on that record and Neil Fallon from Clutch on this one. How important were their voices to those songs?

Their vocals work really good on those songs, the extra boost, like the perfect spice. The songs are great, but they needed some more beard. :)

The album is a real journey from “The Flood” to “Bound for Greatness,” but “Message Through the Horses” still stands out for its intensity. What do you remember about what you were feeling as these songs came together?

I guess I’d liked the anger, aggressiveness, the intensity and the power of the songs on the album. That we didn’t set a limit or what we could or not. Just put together riffs of darkness and anger into really good, mean songs that are Beyond Colossal.

How do you feel about this being the last Dozer album, your final statement as a band?

Who said that?! But if it is, it’s a hell of a statement.

Anything in particular you’d like to add about Beyond Colossal? Any other standout memories to share about this time in the band?

Good times, great shows and good fun.

Dozer, Beyond Colossal

Dozer on Thee Facebooks

Dozer on YouTube

Dozer website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds on Twitter

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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Dozer Interview & Full Album Stream Pt. 5: Through the Eyes of Heathens

Posted in Features on February 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Last week Sweden’s Dozer oversaw reissues of their final two (to-date) albums through Heavy Psych Sounds. The Italian label has been making its way through the Dozer catalog, and so has this interview series. Below, bassist Johan Rockner takes us back to 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens (discussed here), following the discussion yesterday of the demo collection recorded in the same era, Vultures (review here; discussed here), originally issued in 2013.

Through the Eyes of Heathens is a special album, and to be completely honest, I’m just happy to have the excuse to put it on while I write. From the bombastic opening of “Drawing Dead,” it establishes Dozer as a more dynamic outfit than any of their prior material could have, even as it hinted toward what was coming. “Born a Legend,” “From Fire Fell,” “The Roof, the River, the Revolver,” are more than just catchy tracks. They find Dozer more fully realizing the brash side of 2002’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed here; also discussed here), as they moved farther away from the desert-style heavy of 2001’s Madre de Dios (discussed here) and 2000’s In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here) and deeper into their own identity. Recording in Finland, they nonetheless set a standard for Swedish heavy rock that few beyond themselves could hope to meet, try though they might and have.

Their fourth album was also their 10th anniversary, and Rockner, as well as guitarist Tommi Holappa, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, and then-drummer Karl Daniel Lidén rose to that occasion in songwriting and performance. Complete with a guest vocal spot from Troy Sanders of tourmates Mastodon on closer “Big Sky Theory,” Through the Eyes of Heathens is the moment at which Dozer became the band they were meant to be, and the identity of their craft has not been dulled in the least by the ensuing 16 years. It is a thing of beauty right unto Peder Bergstrand‘s willfully weird cover design, and whether you’ve embraced and been embraced by the record before or you’re a stranger to it, as someone listening to it right now, I’ll tell you flat out that you’ll only find welcome and refuge in its course.

This interview series, the other parts of which are all haphazardly linked above, will conclude tomorrow with Rockner discussing Beyond Colossal.

Until then, here’s this and thanks for reading:

dozer through the eyes of heathens

Through the Eyes of Heathens Q&A with Johan Rockner

Tell me about where you see Through the Eyes of Heathens in terms of Dozer’s overall progression. How does it relate to Call it Conspiracy in your mind?

That album was a big turning point, in the same way Call it Conspiracy was, but different. I think it relates mostly through songwriting. But also, we learned alot from the making of Call it Conspiracy, which was a big project from start to finish. Especially for us. Best producer and best studios.

So, take all the good lessons we learned from CIC, and carefully use those, but in our way in the process of THEOH.

This was the first album Dozer put out with Small Stone Records. How did that deal come about and what did that change in distribution mean for the band?

Haha! I guess all the money ran out on the CIC project, and we were in urgent need of someone else to pay for the next album. ;) I guess distribution was a part of it, and also other connections the label had. But I guess, we needed a change over and all and Small Stone was back then a place for bands like us to be.

Looking back on them now and revisiting them for this reissue, what do songs like “Born a Legend” and “Man of Fire” mean to you now? What do you remember about writing or recording them?

For me, all the songs are great, and the songs “Big Sky Theory,” “Until Man Exists No More” and “From Fire Fell” stick out the most to me, but they are also songs we always love to play live. But this album is the album that I guess had the best impact for us as a band.

A lot of things happened before recording it, Erik [Bäckwall] left the band, Daniel joined the band, European tour with Mastodon and two years of making songs. So the band was full of new energy and the direction of the songs just came naturally. We made 16 songs for this album, 10 on album and six of them ended up on Vultures. Says a lot about our creativity at this time, we were definitely on a roll. :)

What’s the story behind the album cover?

Love the cover that Peder [Bergstrand, Lowrider] made. I don’t know the story, but I guess Peder had some weird fantasies about crossing different animal species and see what kind of strange new ones who would appear. We’ll never know.

Anything in particular you’d like to add about Through the Eyes of Heathens? Any other standout memories to share about this time in the band?

This album recording sticks out for me. A lot of good memories. This was around Midsummer’s Eve on an island just outside Helsinki, Finland. Two weeks of good times. Good recording days, music, friends and parties. Troy [Sanders, Mastodon] came by to sing some guest vocals, went to see their show with Iron Maiden. Good hang with them and Fantomas, who also toured Europe at that time.

The only video recording diary we ever made. Which also reflects how much fun, crazy and weird stuff that was going on during our recording. Watch it!

Dozer, Through the Eyes of Heathens

Dozer, Through the Eyes of Heathens Studio Diary

Dozer on Thee Facebooks

Dozer on YouTube

Dozer website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds on Twitter

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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