Monday, 5 June 2017

Vokonis – Olde One Ascending (2016) / 90%

They do love their craft!

This is without a doubt one of the finest doom albums of 2016. Despite that fact, it took me a while to gather my thoughts and do a review. This challenge is a perfect opportunity to do just that. To me, this album is more satisfying than the entire Sleep discography. I know, this is perhaps hyperbolic but eh, this is great stuff, guys!

The power trio from Sweden sounds like a ton of brick on steroids. Those guys probably eat six to eight eggs a day to maintain their heaviness. I mean, to appeal to the ancient ones, you need to be convincing cultists or they will not answer your dark prayers. Vokonis' prayers are repetitive but highly effective. It’s perhaps their only weakness but they were wise enough to keep the album relatively short for doom/stoner standards. This is mostly the fault of Ohlsson’s vocals, they’re a bit redundant and samey but they do not lack power, no sir. I really love when he goes all in and screams the hell out of those bonkers lyrics (check out the huge closer “Hazmat the Ashen Rider”.) That said, this small default certainly adds another layer of psychedelic stoner to their sound.

Like Conan (the British band, not the character), their main appeal is the power of their sound. The production is an absolute gem and adds ten thousand pounds of pure steel on everything. The guitars, the clear highlight of the record, are Jabba-esque. The leads are also pretty good (like the one minute solo on “Olde One”) as they expand the sound towards proggy fields. Still, a good tone is nothing without good riffs and they deliver on that front too. The lush six to eight minutes songs are never boring and are constantly offering the olde gods something worthwhile.

They're not a slow band either, they maintain a steady mid-paced speed throughout the record as they alternate between groovy as fuck riffs and trance inducing leads. Their doom is simply fun and rewarding.

Sure, what Vokonis plays isn’t the most original style but they do it with verve and talent. Perhaps not as adventurous as a band like Elder, they’re nevertheless as talented and worth hearing.

No comments: