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Svolk - "Svölk 'Em All" (CD)

Svolk - "Svölk 'Em All" CD cover image

"Svölk 'Em All" track listing:

1. 52 05:28
2. This is It 04:24
3. Anchor (5:09)
4. Sweet Agony (3:31)
5. Miss Alcohol (6:21)
6. 12 Times the Pain (3:30)
7. End of Days (4:45)
8. Inferno (5:54)
9. Dead:30 (3:30)
10. Time for the Dying (Bonus Track) (5:36)
11. Warm Within (Bonus Track) (5:05)
12. Overload (Bonus Track) (7:02)

Reviewed by on February 4, 2012

"What this band manages to do is combine stoner/doom, southern rock, traditional metal, a touch of fuzz bass and the riffs of Kyuss."

There has been a huge influx of stoner/doom bands lately, so it's quite easy to overlook one or two gems that you may have missed. Svölk’s sophomore full-length LP “Svölk ‘Em All” (which is actually a re-issue of the band’s 2009 self-titled, self-released debut) is one of those overlooked 2011 gems. What this band manages to do is combine stoner/doom, southern rock, traditional metal, a touch of fuzz bass and the riffs of Kyuss. The band calls this unique style “bear metal.” It’s a foot tapping, head banging great listen.

Loosely following in the footsteps of country mates Lonely Kamel, Norway’s Svölk has a much clearer, much heavier sound than the former. The riffs of Martin Østerhaug hit you on the jaw at the same time his groove laden hooks land a nasty upper cut. Check out “Anchor,” which not only has both, but for a split second on the chorus the twin harmony guitar is Maiden-esque. Knut Erik Solhaug’s vocals are raw in-your-face with a touch of Glenn Danzig and Keith Caputo.

Notable tracks include “12 Times the Pain” (strong traditional metal meets southern groove metal mix), “End of Days” (a 70’s Black Sabbath start with a crushing riff and trippy stoner elements), “52” (the strong opener that sets the tone for the entire release) and “Dead:30” (a more straight forward 80’s traditional metal crusher). The thing about the sound is that as catchy and unique as it is, it is best to listen to Svölk in small quantities. A full album’s listen (here with three lengthy bonus tracks that originally appeared on the band’s first EP “Beast Unleashed”) can be a bit draining and wear down a listener.

Svölk is definitely a unique stand out in the stoner/doom genre. The band combines a varying and interesting style with the “Norwegian redneck attitude” that sets the group apart from the pack. Needless to say, I felt totally out of touch and slightly freaked out when I learned that there actually was a “redneck attitude” in Norway.

Highs: Catchy foot tapping headbanging unique brand of stoner/doom metal.

Lows: The album as a whole can be a bit draining for some.

Bottom line: Svölk takes stoner/doom and converts it to its own unique "bear metal."

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

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)