Full Album Stream & Review: Vokonis, Odyssey

Posted in Reviews on May 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Vokonis Odyssey

[Click play above to stream Vokonis’ Odyssey in full. Album is out Friday on The Sign Records.]

At the core of what Vokonis bring to their fourth full-length, Odyssey, is the blossoming dual-vocal dynamic between guitarist Simon Ohlsson and bassist Jonte Johansson. As the Borås, Sweden-based three-piece have progressed across the last six years, with steady releases acting as landmarks along the way — 2016’s Olde One Ascending (review here), 2017’s The Sunken Djinn (review here) and 2019’s Grasping Time (review here) — they have brought more and more styles of heavy under the umbrella of their aesthetic, and the six-song/40-minute Odyssey is both their most ambitious and most accomplished work in that regard. From the straight-ahead charge of “Rebellion” at the outset through the post-Scorpions progressive heavy rock touched on in Johansson‘s verses in 12-minute closer “Through the Depths,” there is nothing Vokonis reach for here that they don’t subsequently grab.

Notably, Odyssey marks the debut of drummer Peter Ottosson, who joined the band prior to the release of Grasping Time (but after the recording), and finds the band’s already formidable dynamic arrangements fleshed out through the inclusion of the near-ubiquitous Per Wiberg, whose organ/keyboard expressions build melody and atmosphere not only in the most pivotal stretches of that mentioned finale, but in the earlier title-track and the penultimate “Hollow Waters” — a highlight among highlights — as well.

The vinyl edition of Odyssey separates those last two from the rest of the proceedings, and fairly enough so, as they create a kind of flow between themselves that distinguishes from the mostly shorter surroundings — the title-track, which directly follows “Rebellion” and runs nine minutes, is the exception, acting as a foreshadow of things to come — but even in its most pointed moments of attack, Odyssey finds Vokonis confident of who they are as a band and willfully pulling their songs over the borderlines between microgenres, culling from noise, post-hardcore, black metal, doom, progressive heavy rock, and whatever else suits them as they embark on a craft that is all the more their own for being inclusive of so many elements.

“Rebellion,” then, might be the band’s statement against expectation. Its Mastodonic lead riff is topped by channel-swapping shouts from Ohlsson before Johansson joins on melodic, “cleaner” vocals. The two have never sounded more complementary than they do immediately on this three-minute piece, and the screams that arrive as the song moves into its second half act as a blindside but become a crucial element in Vokonis‘ arsenal across this Odyssey, not at all overused, but enhancing more intense moments throughout and putting emphasis on breadth almost in spite of their own rawness. “Odyssey” opens with keys and is an immediately more patient turn.

vokonis

No doubt its winding initial movement will draw some Elder comparisons, but Vokonis go to someplace more pastoral across the first half, and Wiberg‘s organ backs Johansson in the song’s midsection in a way that sets the stage for a linear build over the next several minutes, a solo arriving at 6:20 born of the layered ether, shifting into higher and lower gutturalisms, and effective right unto the oh-hell-yes “blech” that follows in using extreme metal as a tool rather than a crutch — that is, not aggressive for aggression’s sake, but to add to the scope of Odyssey (and “Odyssey”) overall. Unsurprisingly, “Blackened Wings” keeps the thread going, picking up at full speed and shoving through screamed/shouted verses into a more soaring chorus, a hook emerging just in time to be swallowed by the solo that caps as the track gives way to the more moderately-paced “Azure,” which informs that “Ashes and dust will be all that remains in the end” before a final scream over guitar and organ closes out side A in righteous fashion. Seems like Vokonis might need a full-time keyboardist — or at very least a laptop — if they’re thinking of bringing this material to life at anytime soon, but as a studio work, the complexity of design the band has brought to these songs, even as barebones as their structures can be, isn’t to be ignored.

So who is Vokonis, then? Are they the rippers on “Rebellion?” The mosh-crunchers of the second half of “Hollow Waters?” The conjurors of swirl who make “Through the Depths” both live up to its title and set a new height of achievement for the band at the same time? The “duh” answer is Vokonis are all of these, and that the identity of the group as portrayed in their sound has become that much richer over time. “Hollow Waters” and “Through the Depths” should be taken on their own, even in a digital, all-at-once context. Of course, they’re consistent sound-wise with the four songs preceding, and as noted, “Odyssey” does well in prefacing the grandeur to unfold later, but even the background screams buried in the mix of “Hollow Waters” and the rumble that bounces along with the drums beneath the guitar in the first half of “Through the Depths” — thinking before the charred screams hit around the four-minute mark — are details that earn a close listen through the sheer strength of their craft.

One does not necessarily think of Vokonis as a meditative or navelgazing band, but there’s no question this material has been considered, thought through, and built with a mind toward conveying the fluidity that comes across in the end result, and it deserves all the more consideration for that. It shows that the arc of growth Vokonis enacted even from their earliest demo work had not yet peaked even on Grasping Time, and that on performance and songwriting levels, their will is to keep pushing themselves forward. May they continue to do so for the duration, because as Odyssey readily proves, they’re only more able to create something special for each prior outing. As his first recording with the band, Ottosson deserves a mention for his play and how ably he fits in style-wise, but the fact of the matter is it’s the whole band who have made Odyssey the proggy pleasure piece it is, and likewise honed the multifaceted nature of who Vokonis have become.

Vokonis, “Blackened Wings” official video

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Simon Ohlsson of Vokonis

Posted in Questionnaire on March 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

simon ohlsson vokonis

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: Simon Ohlsson of Vokonis

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

I play guitar, sing and mainly I’m a songwriter in the band Vokonis. That’s what I want to put forth the most I guess. That I write songs with my friends and are very lucky to have some people like what we do.

Describe your first musical memory.

It was probably my dad listening to Bruce Springsteen. I do not know if that’s frowned upon but I’ve been to some of his concerts as well and they’ve all been very good.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Iggy and The Stooges a couple of years ago. I had the pleasure of being able to rush the stage during Fun House and dance next to James Williamson. Iggy is probably my biggest “rock star”. So that alone ranks it above a lot of other concerts.

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

Probably around ten years ago when I lost my faith in god and religion. I was very Christian in my teens and as a lot of bad stuff happened I just couldn’t find it in myself or in the universe that god exists.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

To happiness. I don’t want to stand still musically. I get bored very fast if I don’t feel I make progress.

How do you define success?

To love yourself. To be happy with what I do and to surround myself with good people.

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

Most Adam Sandler movies. Grown-Ups in particular.

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

A 20-minute song. That is what we set out to do with Odyssey. It turned into a more traditional album instead but I’m still happy about it.

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

It adds spice and value to life. The fact that art isn’t appreciated in the same way by two people speaks a lot too.

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

The rest of the NBA season. I’m happy to have that going even if the pandemic is still rolling.

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Vokonis, Odyssey (2021)

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Vokonis Set May 7 Release for Odyssey

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Goodness gracious that’s some gorgeous album art for the new Vokonis record. The album has been in discussion since before it was even mentioned here last Spring, and I’ll just say that yes, I’ve heard it and it’s the most progressive work the Swedish three-piece have done yet, building on 2019’s Grasping Time (review here) even as it basks in heavier heavy. If you’ve followed the band’s evolution to this point — or, I guess, if you haven’t — they won’t disappoint. Plus, Per Wiberg‘s on it!

I assume that, were the circumstances different, Odyssey would have been released last Fall. Better late than never. Expect more to come on this one, one way or the other.

Till then, this from the PR wire:

Vokonis Odyssey

Vokonis will release their fourth studio album ”Odyssey” May 7th 2021 via The Sign!

Vokonis will release their fourth studio album “Odyssey” in spring 2021. More dynamically diverse than ever, the 6 new tracks feature guest musician Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars, Kamchatka) on Keyboard. Odyssey is Vokonis’ first true prog-record. A record for the new decade.

After the success of Vokonis’ critically acclaimed third album “Grasping Time” (2019), Vokonis immediately went into recording more material. With the goal set to further expand the prog landscape, Vokonis crafted recordings that are more dynamically diverse and forward-thinking than ever before. The result is “Odyssey”, the upcoming fourth studio album by Vokonis. Ranging from full-blown doom to melodically blissful passages, the new album features guest musician Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars, Kamchatka) on Keyboard.

With tangible prog- influences combined with stand out choruses, the 6 tracks on “Odyssey” further explores the sound that Vokonis introduced on 2019’s “Grasping Time”. Jonte’s clean vocal lines are effectively blended with Simon’s aggressive bark, creating tons of depth as the sound shift from dreamy psychedelia to faze-melting sludge heaviness. The new tracks are backed up by the rhythmical patterns provided by the band’s new drummer Peter Ottosson who, since his affiliation in early 2019, has proved to be a spark plug of inspiration for the band.

“Odyssey” was recorded in Studio Soundport, Sweden, by Mikael Andersson. Mastered by Magnus Lindberg. The artwork for the album and its singles were made by Kyrre Bjurling (Grasping Time, Olde One Ascending Reissue). “Odyssey” will be released on The Sign Records on May 7, 2021. The album will be available on digital, vinyl, and CD format. Get ready.

Vokonis:
Simon Ohlsson – Guitar and Vocals
Jonte Johansson – Bass and Vocals
Peter Ottosson – Percussion – Drums

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Stream Review: Vokonis, Live at Klubb Undergrunden, Sept. 18, 2020

Posted in Reviews on September 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

vokonis klubb undergrunden

My wife and I threw rock-paper-scissors in a best of three to decide which of us was going to put our son down for nap. She won. I had a run of victories that lasted for years but ever since then it’s been like the curse of the Bambino. I’m lucky if I make the playoffs.

But then I looked at my watch and saw it was 1:58PM and that in two minutes it would be time for Borås, Sweden, trio Vokonis to begin their live stream from Klubb Undergrunden in their hometown, and I called in the favor. Though she was plenty ready for a nap herself, the love of my life relented and took the kid upstairs to lie down.

A few minutes later, as Klubb Undergrunden Sessions II was underway with the progressive-heavy three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, bassist/vocalist Jonte Johansson and drummer Peter Ottoson opening their relatively quick 27-minute set with the title-track of 2017’s The Sunken Djinn (review here), I got the call from upstairs.

He’d thrown up. Not uncommon but not unheard of; generally he’s not much of a puker, but of course timing is anything. As the band nestled into the stomp of the verse in “The Sunken Djinn,” with Ohlsson and Johansson sharing vocal duties as they’ve done more and more effectively since making their debut with 2016’s Olde One Ascending (review here), I hit pause, grabbed some paper towels, and went to assess the damage.

It wasn’t so bad, and soon enough, I was back in front of the television, watching the multi-camera, pro-sound, pro-lighting cast of the trio playing “Grasping Time” off of 2019’s Grasping Time (review here) as I seemed to be doing so myself, but it goes to the ongoing discussion of how music and especially the experience of live music interacts with the rest of our lives in this pandemic era.

Having recently experienced a socially-distant live performance for direct comparison, I’ll say that the simple act of having to leave one’s house makes a huge difference.

I’ve never lived in a major city or particularly close to any relevant venues, so I’m fairly used to traveling for shows, but I would think if you were down the block from your favorite concert hall, the same would still apply. You have to pull yourself out of your own space to see a show (unless you own the venue, in which case, congratulations to you on living my dream) in a way that, watching a COVID-born stream, the whole point is to not.

When you’re at a show, you’re not thinking about doing the dishes. You’re not throwing pillowcases in the laundry. You’re not taking the fucking dog out for the 15th time because she has the world’s most expensive UTI and will invariably piss all over everything if you don’t. Even if you’re the type to text or engage social media while out and about — and by “type,” mostly at this point I think I mean “human” — you’re physically somewhere else.

Vokonis played five songs in this — again — fairly brief mini-gig, with “The Sunken Djinn” and “Grasping Time” giving way to “Antler Queen” and “I Hear the Siren,” before closing out with the quick energy burst of “Exiled”; the latter three tracks all from Grasping Time as well, which is unmistakably the band’s best work made public to-date, though as Ohlsson noted in April, their next offering is already well in progress.

I would imagine that, as different as it is for the audience of a stream, it’s no less a new world for the performers involved. Of course, in a shoot like this one there are other people in the room, working lights, the live mix and camera direction, but that’s hardly the same as a boozy crowd come to see a good show. Still, OhlssonJohansson and Ottoson were able to get into the spirit, headbanging a bit while issuing forth through a series of proggy turns and adrenaline-fueled hooks.

They have worked relatively quickly over the last several years to grow beyond the influences that sparked their earliest efforts — and that work has been successful — and even though Ottoson didn’t appear on Grasping Time, the dynamic between the trio came across as that of a band whose evolution was serving a greater aesthetic purpose. A band who, in stylistic terms, are going somewhere and exploring new ideas.

And so they are. “Exiled” capped with a quick “tack” from Ohlsson and it was over. My wife long since gone for her own nap, our son upstairs, blowing off his own but playing peacefully enough, I disconnected the stream, turned off the tv and sat for a minute to process. I’ve never seen Vokonis live — a planned trip to Esbjerg Fuzztival this year would’ve been the first time — and I came away from the stream feeling like my experience of it was afflicted by the rest of what was going on.

But here’s the thing with the stream: As the house had finally settled down — even the dog was in her crate — I happened to have another 27 minutes at my disposal. Not something that happens every day. So I just put it on, on my laptop this time, and watched Vokonis kill it once again so I didn’t come away feeling like I’d missed anything.

That’s something that, were I pulled away from an in-person show by some domestic consideration — it’s happened before; you get bad news, etc. — I wouldn’t have been able to do. Everything has its ups and downs. And in a time that seems perpetually to find new lows, I’ll take every 27 minutes of positivity I can get.

The stream is still up and you can see it below. Thanks for reading.

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Vokonis Premiere ‘Live at Studio Underjord 2019’ Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Last month, while no doubt restless during the process of making their new album during a time of ongoing global pandemic, increasingly progressive Swedish riffers Vokonis put up a two-songer stopgap called Live at Studio Underjord 2019 that — you guessed it — was recorded in 2019 at — you guessed it again — Studio Underjord. The studio, which in the past has hosted the likes of Skraeckoedlan, Domkraft, MaidaVale, Ocean Chief, Hazemaze, Alastor, The Tower, is set in Norrköping, and Vokonis come from Borås to the south and west. It’s about three-hours between the two, but last September, the band — no strangers to the place; they’ve done their last two LPs there — made the trip to put down live versions of “AntlerQueen” and “Sunless Hymnal,” both of which come from their 2019 album, Grasping Time (review here).

That record wasn’t shy in displaying the increasing breadth that Vokonis‘ sound has come to encompass, or the variety of influence they take from sludge, heavy rock, post-rock, progressive metal, and so on. Particularly, a dynamic of shared vocals between guitarist Simon Ohlsson and bassist Jonte Johansson — while not brand new by any means — became an increasing presence in their sound, and perhaps in addition to wanting to showcase how that comes across live, the band also wanted to get versions of the two songs to tape with Peter Ottosson on drums, whereas Grasping Time was recorded when Emil Larsson was still in the lineup.

So if you need reasons, there are a couple right there. I’m not sure you actually need reasons though, because whatever it was that had Vokonis riding the E4 up to Underjord, the fact remains that the songs are killer heavy and killer heavy is its own excuse for being. Indeed we get to hear Johansson‘s clean singing in the rolling “Sunless Hymnal” mixed in with some of Ohlsson‘s more shouting approach in “AntlerQueen,” and even some screams thrown in at the end, as on the record, and as the two songs appear in succession on the actual studio release as well, they flow together with no hesitation at all, as though they were written that way. Funny how that works out sometimes.

I’m not saying I’ve heard any rough versions of tracks or anything like that, but Vokonis‘ progression is ongoing with their new material, and they’re getting ready to explore some new ideas in terms of arrangement as well, so whatever else 2020 or early 2021 brings, it’s going to be worth your time keeping an eye out for news for what they have coming up. Until then, I’m happy to host the premiere for the video edition of Live at Studio Underjord 2019, because, well, see the paragraph above about “killer heavy.” Especially as someone who’s never gotten to see them live, I appreciate the chance to check this out.

I hope you enjoy:

Vokonis, Live at Studio Underjord 2019 video premiere

Vokonis play “AntlerQueen” and “Sunless Hymnal”, both from their latest album Grasping Time, live at Studio Underjord.

Vokonis are:
Simon Ohlsson – Guitar & Vocals
Jonte Johansson – Bass Vocals
Peter Ottosson – Drums

Vokonis, Live at Studio Underjord 2019 (2020)

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Days of Rona: Simon Ohlsson of Vokonis

Posted in Features on April 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

vokonis simon ohlsson

Days of Rona: Simon Ohlsson of Vokonis (Borås, Sweden)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

It’s been pretty varied. The crisis have affected us mentally. I personally think it’s been very hard to handle the way media and people online are handling this. I’ve suffered from anxiety from a young age and since I was a teen have been obsessed with being clean, washing my hands and not getting ill/sick. Over the years I’ve gotten better with therapy and just trying my best to put myself out there. So it’s been a setback for me personally.

We’ve had to reschedule a bunch of shows. Stockholm, Oslo and Esbjerg Fuzztival in Denmark. Hopefully this blows over soon and we can get back to playing live again. I miss it very much. It’s been a source of energy and a way to challenge my anxiety for these past years. I can’t imagine not doing it.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Sweden has been pretty much behind a lot of other countries. We’re not that affected by government restrictions yet. It feels like it’s gonna crash down soon though.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

It’s been a source of connectivity online for sure. I think it’s always going to be strengthening people. We managed to play a show just before all of this really broke out and that felt awesome. To be able to give some matter of relief to people in these troubling times gave a lot of perspective not really being offered online.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

That we’re still going strong. We try to keep motivated as we’re working on a new album. It’s been a great thing to be able to create right now. Not getting immersed in all of the negativity and trying to keep your head leveled above the water.

Due to us having to reschedule shows we’ve had a massive dent in the band’s economy though. Hopefully we’ll get out there again so the new album won’t be set back due to us not getting money. But know that over on the other side of all this, there lies a new Vokonis album!

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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.

vokonis

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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