If your a fan of gritty underground rock music then no matter where your searches take you, be it the rainforests of Brazil or the neon lit streets of the USA, there is a high probability that your search for a gnarly groove will eventually bring you to Sweden. Whether it's dark dismal doom, raucous stoner, hard driving blues, swirling psych/space or growling black/death metal Sweden has a band that can deliver it.
Swedish doomsters Alastor cherrypick from these various underground genres and sub-genres, taking what they can use and discarding what they can't, blending what they've accumulated in a swirling assemblage of grizzly riffage and acid-laced groove that is wholly their own, as can be experienced on the bands debut EP "Black Magic" (Twin Earth Records).
"Enemy" is the first of the three songs that make up "Black Magic" and creeps menacingly out of the speakers on slow low wave of heavily distorted riffage supported by pulverising pounding percussion interspersed with occasional squealing guitar licks. The track slowly builds until the hazy, slightly distant and ethereal vocals appear, their haunting tones bringing an air of mysticism to the proceedings. The songs dark monolithic groove hardly deviates from it's meandering slow doom path throughout its eleven minutes (plus) span but this works to its advantage giving the song a feeling of impending danger and growing terror, akin to being chased in some 50's horror movie by a dishevelled monster, a leaden leg dragging behind it, that no matter how fast you try to run is still there lumbering malevolently just behind you.
"Nothing To Fear" lightens the atmosphere a shade and sees the band jamming a gnarly proto-doom groove replete with wah drenched guitar pyrotechnics and reverb soaked vocals. Those feeling of menace and foreboding experienced on the first track still remains but are ever so slightly diluted by the faster tempos and lightened but still effective sonic attack.
"Black Magic", a massive doom drenched opus stretched over fourteen minutes, blends elements of the two previous tracks and adds into those elements touches of swirling acid colouring. Basically a song of two halves "Black Magic" begins on a deliciously grizzled, mid-tempo, proto-doom groove over which hazy clean vocals are delivered, the singer smoothly stretching his vocal register to hit the songs higher notes, then segues, via a slow psych drenched passage of growling low bass and intricate percussion, into a pounding doom refrain with dark shards of guitar colouring reverberating with sustain around a repeated vocal mantra before finishing on a wave of screaming guitar and thunderous rhythm.
Heavy, hazy and humongous "Black Magic" is a stunning debut that will leave listeners hungrily begging for more.
Check it out ....