Swedish Metallers Thalamus return with thunder in their soul after a 4 year hiatus, rejuvenated and with a desire to capture the energy and fire they had on their debut with this their 4th release. Their dark, deep, down and intense Metal credentials have never been misplaced, but if their ability to groove with a certain heaviness needed reaffirming or was ever in question, then I don’t think it will be in doubt after just one listen to “Hiding From Daylight”.

Sweden has it’s own way of delivering hard-hitting stoner-tinged groove-laden Heavy Metal and Thalamus are part of that fine tradition. They pitch themselves somewhere between The Mushroom River Band/early Spiritual Beggars in their grooviest moments, through to Grand Magus towards the heavier end. There’s good doses of the much underrated The Quill at times, courtesy of Kjell Bergendahl’s clean, Classic hard rock/metal vocals, backed up by some great Hammond organ here and there and hard-riffing guitar work. And of course a tight-as-you-like rhythm section helps the whole thing gel, as well as a great in-yer-face production.

There’s a few slower tracks that will pique the interest of any doom fans out there – sometimes delivered with a laid back bluesy vibe like in ‘Someday’ to give an extra twist. There’s a little inward looking early Alice In Chains occasionally, but that’s nicely balanced with a Sahg-style outward-looking groove (damn, Sahg just ruined my Swedish-only band comparisons…I guess Norway’s just next door…I’m sticking with it!). But I personally enjoy Thalamus the most when they are conquering that up-beat Quill/Beggars groove-metal, resplendent in tracks like ‘Absolution’ and ‘Don’t Leave Me Behind’ – it just seems to suit their overall sound so well. It’s the element of their music I’ve always gravitated towards in the past and this time around it’s delivered with added attitude and intensity.

Thalamus are a band that enjoy what they do and that comes across in every note. There’s a freedom to their sound which whilst being full, heavy and all-encompassing, leaves space for those intricate Hammond moments (for instance) to cut through. Yep, Thalamus are a band that sound like they are back on track (if they were actually ever off it…) and hopefully the sheer thrill of playing this album live and seeing the audience’s positive reactions will spur them on to even greater things. Hopefully it won’t be another four years before their next album!

(7.5/10 Andy Barker)