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Svolk - "Nights Under The Round Table" (CD)

Svolk - "Nights Under The Round Table" CD cover image

"Nights Under The Round Table" track listing:

1. Living by the Sword (5:33)
2. Feed Your Soul (4:14)
3. Painbringer (6:08)
4. Twenty Four Twenty (5:35)
5. Fallen (7:24)
6. Break My Bones (4:54)
7. Bearserk (5:20)
8. To Conquer Death You Only Have to Die (6:09)
9. This is Where It Ends (5:08)

Reviewed by on August 10, 2012

"Before you go thinking that Svölk is all about fun times getting high, the new album, more so than its predecessor, presents some seriously impressive riffs that catch you 'on guard,' especially if you have come to know the band."

After re-issuing the self-titled debut 2009 release as “Svölk 'Em All” in 2011 through Napalm Records, Norway’s own “bear metal” act Svölk has returned for more reefer blazing debauchery with “Nights Under the Round Table.” Now before you go thinking that Svölk is all about fun times getting high, the new album, more so than its predecessor, presents some seriously impressive riffs that catch you "on guard," especially if you have come to know the band. While the album is no trailblazer, it is worth a listen for those that need to satisfy that Sabbath sweet leaf....er, tooth!

“Nights Under the Round Table” audibly resembles a valley between two peaks. Standing tall at the start, “Living by the Sword” anchors the left side peak and “This is Where it Ends” anchors the right. With each successive track, the middle starts to sag like a rope bridge over the river of sludge that crests on “Fallen,” the band’s own version of the song “Black Sabbath.” Here, Svölk sinks into the dark depths of hell to drag us through the sllllloooooowwwww bass strums of old doom....with Knut Erik capturing his best “JB Christoffersson meets Glen Danzig” vocal style.

Though the band strays little from its established sound, I will note that this album is a bit edgier than the last, leaning slightly more heavy metal than heavy rock. “Living by the Sword” and “Feed Your Soul” have a feel of Pentagram infused with a heavy dose of Witchfinder General. “Painbringer” has an infectious mid-paced riff that rhythmically punishes the listener like a smooth shiny aluminum baseball bat to the skull, but even these fine riffs border on over repetition. “Break My Bones” follows the abyss of “Fallen,” slowly ascending the second peak like a cog train scaling the Alps. “Bearserk” finds a little straightaway and starts to pick up speed with a “tommygun” riff gushing with 70's groove.

Fans of stoner doom with a penchant for groove will find that Svölk continues to significantly improve. “Nights Under the Round Table” is nothing earth shattering, but a step forward for the band sounding as solid as the last with a slightly heavier edge to it. This edge is the key to the album’s success and the future of the band.

Highs: A heavier edge to the sound. "Fallen" will be the band's defining tune.

Lows: A bit repetitious at times and Knut's vocals can drain on you a little.

Bottom line: Rich thick gravy groove captures the 70's meatloaf Sundays we had "on top of the round table."

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)