|» Cd reviews||
With great anticipation I've patiently waited for what never seemed to become a reality, the follow-up to the debut album of the quite unknown Swedish stoners in the form of Kaross. Six long years have passed since the release of what I consider a great stoner colossus, namely Molossus. Finally the continuation of their legacy arrived and I hastily threw myself against what I hoped to be a massive boulder. Is this the hazy wall of stone I wanted it to be?
The pretty repetitive opening track raised thoughts of doubt and disappointment. Although not terrible, their earlier work raised the bar higher than that. However, the song "Borderline" more than makes up for it. Everything in that song spells Kyuss, almost on the verge of being a tribute. The foggy riffing (not as fuzzy sounding though), the Garcia-ish vocals and the high-pitched bass lines. Solid song through and through, a school-book example of a good stoner track. There is a live version available on youtube. My hopes were certainly elevated after the quite bland introduction!
Aside from the aforementioned song, Kaross has a signature sound which shows itself in the subsequent songs. Magnus Knutas utilize his special style of singing in melody lines with sudden drops to lower notes and overdubbed vocals and screams. Also, they create grooves with all instruments working as a whole, if that makes any sense. One example is the guitar solos which mostly complements, enhances and blends in with the backing track rather than standing out on their own. Even though the influences, especially from Kyuss, are crystal clear, they have their own identity and have formed a sound of their own. Easier to hear and recognize, than to explain.
Apart from rather unpleasant clicky sounds, probably rim clicks, in the chorus of "I call the shots", the whole album is well produced and sounds great, with several sound effects neatly blended in. Often samples can sound a bit off but in this album they actually give the tracks an edge.
There are several moments not to miss throughout the record. One of them is the raw scream in the second chorus of the title track. Another one is the exquisite drumming in the verses of "I call the shots", the fills in "All Cream Is Gone" and in all of "Hyde". Hell, don't miss anything of "Hyde"! Aficionados of doom should revel in the chorus of "The Evil". Something that could be called vulgar or cheesy, but to me surely was a badass moment, was the shotgun in the intro of "Fawn". I think that song should have taken the spot as the opening track. Hard to avoid bobbing your head to such a pumping verse riff!
So was this the ton of bricks I wanted so badly after years of waiting? Both yes and no. My expectations were fairly high as their debut is one of my favorite stoner records. Glad as I am to have a few more great tracks to enjoy, I guess they lost some momentum. The groovy heaviness was there, but my need for the melancholic feeling of "15+" and "Chlorine" from Molossus was not satisfied. Although nothing was outright bad and a lot was amazing, as a sucker for variation and the occasional clean part, I felt something was missing from hitting the sweet spot I know they can hit.
While this was no new behemoth of a record, a lot of potential
resides within and the peaks of it fueled my urge to experience them
live once more. Every stoner fan should consider giving this a listen
or Two. Hopefully the wait will be shorter for the next chapter of Kaross.