The seeds of interstellar sludge have been planted.
The roots of sludge metal may well be tied to The Melvins and the Pacific Northwest in the late 80s, the style may have been expanded and arguably perfected in Nola, but there are some bands in Europe that have been making some waves with it of late. The peculiar case of Sweden’s Domkraft is a good case study not only in how widespread the phenomenon has become, but also how versatile of an expression it can be in practice. The stereotypical mixture of extremely muddy and dissonant slow walks through the halls of misery with jarring transitions into fast-paced thrashing moments that typify the likes of Crowbar and Corrosion Of Conformity are generally absent, and in its place is something that is still dense and forbidding, but has more of a spacey, 70s psychedelic quality to it that is more directly influenced by the likes of Hawkwind, Sleep and Spacemen 3, the music for which this band’s members themselves profess a common love.
Beneath the veil of noise-drenched and dark waters of sound that makes up this outfit’s third studio outing “Seeds” is a groovy, infectiously catchy blend of elements that should ring a bell for anyone with even the slightest familiarity with the early days when metal and hard rock were joined at the tip. The scope of each offering ranges from an epic length jam session on a highly minimalist and slow-progressing set of ideas to more middle length versions of the same concept, each one a self-contained crescendo that has a loose and fluid sense of tempo and dynamics. On top of all this varying levels of noise is bassist and vocalist Martin Wegeland, who actually has a fairly by the numbers vocal approach that is rough around the edges when called for, but is otherwise a fairly clean cut take on the iconic rock vocalist approach. This dual course mixture of bleakness and beauty results in a sense of isolation, as if one were lost in space and crying out for a quick end to it all.
Trudging forth through the black swamps of the cosmos, these songs each carry their own unique charm and do well to justify the relentless repetition and slow change in which they indulge. The opening splash of interstellar mud and title song “Seeds” clocks in at a whopping 9 minutes plus while largely riding a singular bass drone, but what goes on over top it between the melancholic lead guitar melodies and woe-steeped vocalizations of Wegeland just makes the constant sameness at the foundation seem ancillary, not to mention that the shifting tempo and the occasional deviations that do occur feel all the more powerful for the lack of any other distractions going on. The same basic scheme is repeated on the almost equally long “Perpetuator”, while the slightly longer closer “Audiodome” one ups them both by doing the same basic thing at a faster tempo and with even more intricate lead guitar work peppers on top, including some fairly impressive yet messy soloing at key points.
The long and short of it is, this band deals in a rather curious blend of almost improvisatory sounding work over a series of fixed riffs that constitute about 90% of the length of each song, with the rub being that the other 10% is where most of the points of intrigue happen to be. Even when a shorter length song such as the catchy doom rocker “Into Orbit” stands in for about half the length of the longer material heard on here, the formula is basically the same, though the breaks between changes are a bit shorter and the song tends to feel a bit more accessible. To be clear, this is not a difficult album to get into, but more so one that is pretty specific to the audience that it is seeking to attract, which is primarily those who enjoy an extremely muddy mold of the doom metal style comparable to Sleep, but structured in a manner in line with a droning approach normally reserved to meditation music. Nevertheless, for those who enjoy the material of noted U.S. sludge acts with a psychedelic edge such as Forming The Void and Shroud Eater, this is a solid listen.
Released By: Magnetic Eye Records
Released On: April 30th, 2021
Genre: Power Metal
- Martin Wegeland / Bass, Vocals
- Anders Dahlgren / Drums
- Martin Widholm / Guitars
“Seeds” track listing:
- Into Orbit
- Dawn of Man
- Krank Blekhet
With the once uniquely North American sub-genre of sludge metal now becoming a worldwide phenomenon, a rising star from Sweden has landed a third impressive blow to the former monopoly with a catchy rocking demeanor and a dense psychedelic gloss.