My track record for choosing great albums based on getting a chuckle out of the band’s name has proven successful so far. So when I saw that three-piece Swedish sludge/doom band Snailking was releasing their debut full-length album,”Storm,” for whatever reason their name hit my funny bone and I knew I had to give this album a listen.
Pontus Ottosson (guitar, vocals), Frans Levin (bass), and Karl Jonas Wijk (drums) have delivered “Storm,” a five-song, fifty-three minute album released on the Consouling Sounds label. The release is timely considering the storms that have occurred in my area for the month of September, so this album really spoke to me.
In my mind’s eye, I picture myself taking my daily walk around the neighborhood. The sky is postcard-perfect, a slight breeze is rustling through the trees, and I watch my fellow neighbors take advantage of the nice summer weather with outdoor activities such as gardening, bike riding, and lawn mowing. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But then, just like on the opening track, ‘To Wander,’ a bell goes off to warn the city of approaching bad weather. As I look up in the sky, Ottosson‘s low-tuned guitar strikes for the first time, signifying the arrival low-hanging, black-as-tar storm clouds. I quicken my walking pace, while Levin‘s untamed thunderous bass echoes and reverberates throughout the malevolent sky. People scramble looking for shelter, in fear of Wijk‘s lightning strike drums. In a panic, I finally reach my house with the start of ‘Premonitions,’ with Ottosson‘s crushing riffs blasting through the trees like gusts of wind, threatening to snap once-mighty branches like twigs. With Levin‘s bass causing the foundation of my house to rumble, and the spectacular display of Wijk‘s lightning drums, I am truly startled now. But what is this, a break in the storm? With the wind subsiding, and the sound of gentle pitter-patter of rain hitting the windows, I realize I am now in Snailking‘s calm eye of the storm. I take a moment to regain my composure, open the window to breathe the fresh air, and take in the beauty of the grey sky. Just as your mind tells you that the worse must be over, the second wave of the storm arrives in the form of ‘Slither’ and ‘Requiem,’ unleashing the power of mother nature. The pounding drums and slow super-colossal bass, along with thick soul-crushing riffs, batter everything in sight. I could easily see that if you harnessed the power of “Storm” and transformed it into an actual storm, cities would have no chance of surviving its devastation. Throughout the album, Ottosson‘s vocals are low in the mix. It’s perfect because it reminded me of the weathermen who do live coverage from the middle of hurricanes. Even though they are yelling into a microphone, it soon becomes hard to tell what they are saying thanks to the havoc sweeping through the coastline. The last track, ‘Void’ reminds me of the period of the storm when the curtain of rain has passed but you can still hear a slight rumble of thunder off in the distance, then the sun finally starts to reappear and an explosion of birdsong erupts from the dripping trees.
Don’t laugh too hard at Snailking‘s name, because when all is said and done, this band is no joke. They bring the strength and weight of a wrecking ball that will level your house to its foundation with only one swing.