Now this is a quirky bunch from Sweden whose sophomore EP takes you down a time portal into the 70s where riffing trickery was linked to emotive powerhouse lead work. Comprising of five established musicians notably Pelle Gustafson from Nifelheim aka Hellbutcher doing vocals on here too as he does in Nifelheim. Before you think it, the vocals are not the harsh variety of the blackened thrashers but instead a fine authentic clean approach tinged with a slight grittiness but possessing an abundance of quality and texture as opener ‘Frozen In Time’ ably demonstrates. The songs 70s rock posturing is fused with keyboards as I detected a slight UFO style in the riffing here. Structuring the song around the typical verse chorus verse style it unleashes a lead break that steadily amplifies and intensifies with great speed and intensity.
Having not heard the band’s debut prior to hearing this, nor wanting to I might add, the bands ability to craft passionate songs is terrifically done, all enhanced by the wondrous guitar work courtesy of Fredrik Folkare and Pär Fransson the former of which resides in Unleashed and Firespawn. The beautiful opening to “House Of Lead Nobody’s Home” will surprise and enamour you especially the vocal abilities of Pelle whose tone possesses darkness and warmth that allows every song to breathe. The mournfulness of the song is intrinsic to the atmosphere as another fine solo is revealed and here the style reminded me of Blackmore due to deft playing and subtle tonal deviations that make it so poignant.
A cracking hook infests “Skyhooks And Sound Mirrors” where the pace is sent upwards kindling a Spiritual Beggars like ethos to the track but also some aspects of The Night Flight Orchestra for the melody and catchiness. The song is instrumental and morphs through various transitions especially the bass riddled section which I adored that leaves only the epic ten minutes plus of the title track. Opening with string arrangements a desolation is felt that lingers during the song as the riff enters under a banner of manifest misery. The sombreness is excellent however, where the doom like pace carves channels of gloominess. Adding keyboards escalates the atmospherics as the wondrous lead solo breaks ranks to produce a breath taking display of melody and overt accomplishment. The vocals take a darker turn here too, being desolate and richer in tone his melancholy sets the spine tingling. Strings return some way in before the solo is allowed to flood the senses and is as formidable as you ever heard back in the 70s, or 80s for that matter, as the tone and exquisite grief it holds reminded me of Gary Moore at his best.
This is a mesmeric EP, four songs of transcending magnificence that will hold you hypnotically entrenched in awe.
(9/10 Martin Harris)