That is indeed the opening track, which begins with the traditional church bells and portentous chords. Then a musical storm blows in before the band settle into a mid-tempo head-nodding chug. And that’s pretty much where they stay for the duration. This is not an album of either widescreen, epic desolation or claustrophobic, supernatural dread. It’s more about attitude than execution.
El Camino seem more concerned with songs than atmosphere, which is fine if you have decent ones, but lyrically I find them both uninspired and uninspiring.
The title song basically says that there is a ‘Great Deceiver’ and that the songs protagonists are bringing him some gold, over and over again for five minutes. Yawn…
On ‘This Land of Mine’ the band jump on the Viking metal bandwagon (or should that be longboat?!) and have a bit of a grumble about their forefathers being disrespected by someone or other for the sake of gold coins. Seeing as the Vikings were quite keen on gold themselves I think that’s a bit rich. Plus, I never really believe El Camino‘s righteous, nationalistic ire. I think they just thought it was a cool thing to sing about, seeing as they’re Swedish.
And so it goes on, every song of similar tempo, no surprises and no real standout songs. Best of the bunch is ‘Smaland’ ( the bands neck of the woods, I believe), which portrays the region as being full of werewolves and mythical, mystical goings on. If that was indeed the case I’d have hoped they could at least produce some convincingly scary metal music, but somehow El Camino still seem rather cuddly and tame, bless them.