Album review: Besvärjelsen “Vallmo”

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

The combination of smoke-filled basement rock clubs of yesteryear and the foggy valleys of Nordic folklore have given us yet more terrific melancholic haze rock as Besvärjelsen releases its debut full-length album “Vallmo”.

Besvärjelsen, a band that describes itself as a “Swedish psychedelic stoner rock collective”, formed in 2014 and has already released two EPs. Now they’re back with “Vallmo”, the band’s splendid debut full-length album. On this album Besvärjelsen indeed gives us psychedelic stoner rock mixed with progressive rock and doom metal. Here and there we also get some obvious influences from Nordic folk music underneath the smoke which help to set this apart from many of the more American-influenced stoner bands. The result is great.

The band performs in their native Swedish as well as in English. The songs take us on walks through the fields and valleys of an exciting Swedish psychedelic soundscape. One of the band’s obvious strengths is the terrific songwriting. While we do get some proper doom and heaviness in this music, the musical foundation is built on fantastic melodies.

“Return To No Return” is excellent doom rock. “Under En Svart Himmel” is my favourite track on the album. It has a dreamy and doomy kind of atmosphere, like someone waking up with a hangover from hell but somehow manages to cope as a few sun rays shine through the drawn curtains. “I Skuggan Av Ditt Mörker” is another smashing track with terrific doom riffs and hypnotic vocals. At times it sounds as if I am listening to this on a tape recorder running out of batteries. But the energy in the music always kicks in again. The quality of the eight tracks on the album is very even and the band manages to cram in quite a few influences and styles here while remaining true to their established sound. It somehow manages to create a sound that is as much a smoke-filled basement rock club in Stockholm as it is foggy valleys in the Swedish mountains.

Sweden keeps producing fantastic haze rock. Besvärjelsen is at the top layer of the heap. Great album. I can only imagine how good this might be live.

Besvärjelsen’s album “Vallmo” will be out on 27th March via Suicide Records.

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