A smoking bearded skull with fucked up teeth and tusks. The cover is Ronseal baby. This Swedish three piece offer three songs on this EP and in the 15 minutes they have the listener is gonna get bludgeoned!
The three tracks are inspired by “Shardik” the 1974 novel by Richard Adams of Wartership Down and Plague Dogs fame. The novel looks at the relationship between a hunter – Kelderek and a giant bear “Shardik” who occupies a talismanic and powerful position within the civilization of the novel. Think of the biggest bear you can then double it with razor claws then add a possible god like presence and you have “Shardik”. With this kind of epicness to draw from Joel Ekman (bass/vox), Christopher Davis (guitar/vox) and Emanuel Enbare (drums) gave themselves a rich palette with which to paint the battle between man and beast.
Opener “Adrift” opens in a typical stoner rock fashion spiralling riffs and rumbling bass before dropping down a gear for tortured sludge vocals twinned with gruff death growls and a further plummet into a gothic doom riff that sends shivers down the spine. A bassline emerges that Craig Adams would have been proud of . Just when the lights are about to go out the guitars kick back in a spiral the listener back into the sludge covered wilderness to look for the bear.
“Last King” – This track is four minutes of riffing and crashing drums with another gothic bassline – this time reminding me of Simon Gallup . It’s like a blundering faltering crash through a primeval forest searching for prey but also hoping it eludes you. At 4 mins the vocals kick in. The lyrics say it all “Killer of man, behold your redemption. Usurper of death, taste the blood. Kneel down. The last king. Shardik” . This is one bear hunt that you can’t swish your way out of.
“Beneath the Rebirth” rumbles in with a delicious heavy bass riff before a rearranged section of William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence kicks in . The bear has fulfilled his destiny and a rebirth through fire has occurred.
Grizzlyman have done something that Iron Maiden did to me in the 80’s. I find myself enticed to go to the library to pick up a book I had not heard of before in the hope that it’s pages will excite and enthral me as much as the three tracks on this E.P have done. The mix of sludge, doom and gothic stylings makes for a fantastic medium for this tale and I look forward to the next chapter in Grizzlyman’s story. Let’s hope it’s not Goldilocks….although…..
(8/10 Matt Mason)