Artist: El Caco
Title: Hatred, Love & Diagrams
Type: Album
Label: Indie Recordings

It has been a while since I have heard from this hard rocking eclectic crew from Norway, 2001’s ‘Viva’ album got personally played most of the year of its release. However, their subsequent release ‘Solid Rest’ fell short of my expectations and I lost touch with this band. Rolling onto the present day, I thought I would give them another shot; after all, they were tagged much in the stoner vein my initial encounters with this band was a period that was a massive for that genre, but upon reflection and first impressions of this current release, I would say that El Caco have a lot more soul to their music and much more variation to bring to the listener than a mere desert rock/Kyuss clone.

Not content with the heavy “vibe” you get from some of the rhythm sections, vocalist Øyvind Osa transfers his in-depth emotion right through to your ears. Possessing a strong set of pipes, Osa, never falters in delivering tones and ambience that is simply moving, the clarity is also a big selling point. Another accolade is El Caco’s ability to display such grace and subdued talent in the song writing, El Caco could be one of those massive arena selling bands but can also be a significant stalwart of the musical underground. ‘Hatred….’ does sound a little mainstream in parts, but I don’t mean that literally, what I mean is, it would not be out of place on a commercial radio station, there is certainly staying power and a broad spectrum of musical influence, but you may want to really know if it rocks or not? Well, take a listen to ‘Autopsy’. This one thunders through the genre barricades and is delivered with a bass heavy overdrive laden guitar avalanche, following it’s dreamy stoner Natas start, admittedly, I am thinking this is Kyuss jamming with Mustasch, this is heavy, but so laid back, its magic, and head nodding comes second nature. If you wish for something a little heavier, then ‘Disconnect’ may harbour this passion in certain places. I say this, as each song is bottom heavy, the arrangements then encounter well-rehearsed lighter moments, those are the moments that take you away to other levels of consciousness, especially if you are in a darkened room at the time.

There are moments of heavy, moments of near psychedelic hedonism, one thing ‘Hatred, Love & Diagrams’ does is provide the listener with an almost sixth sense accompanied with musical nirvana, another state of being, and of course, it pays dividends to a band unafraid to take chances, a band that combines their many influences from the basic rock genre and let rip in this pressure cooker of musical emotion.

(8.5/10 Paul Maddison)