The third of seven limited edition 12″ vinyl EP releases from Blues Funeral Recordings‘ maiden voyage into the (so far stunning) PostWax subscription model comes from Besvärjelsen, one of the finest stoner metal/psychedelic doom outfits hailing from within Stockholm, Sweden these last several years. If you recall their debut full-length ‘Vallmo’ (2018) from Suicide Records last year you’ll surely recognize their dream-like occult rock tinged doom metal by ear though this ‘Frost’ EP, as with other PostWax releases is something just a little bit different from the artists norm. To start I believe this is the first release from the band where vocalist Lea Alazam sings entirely in English for the duration of a release, though there were a few tracks from ‘Vallmo’ that’d break from the beautifully dour Swedish language. Greater focus on harmonies, hooking choruses, and a warmly gloomy atmosphere sail calmly from the poppy fields of yesterday to the chill of winter beyond.
What Besvärjelsen‘d conjure is an earful of equal beauty as their past but perhaps something more freely rocked, a serious but not entirely depressive psychedelic doom rock tracklist that is less a King Acid roll and more in line with the softer side of modern day Witch Mountain, with a guitar tone that is a different sort of burly. It bears recollection that these are fellows who’ve been at it for quite some time and though you may not know the Besvärjelsen name offhand their past and presence in Dozer, Greenleaf and Oak creates a resume of quality psychedelic tunes with a moderate edge.
‘Frost’ is substantial at five songs and roughly 27 minutes, long enough to be immersive and feel just at the cusp of a ‘complete’ listening experience while also never resembling a set of B-sides from the ‘Vallmo’ sessions. “When We Fall” and “In the Dark” in particular show a meaningful evolutionary growth beyond early last year in terms of ever-confident vocal work (“Human Habits”), production values, and a stirringly dramatic tonality to the arrangements. There is that moderne somber feeling I’d get from say, Gold, but with an ease that is distinctly heavy psychedelic rock/metal in movement. Are they becoming a commercial rock band? Well, it wouldn’t be the worst idea but no I’d say this is still psychedelic doom metal at its heart with a trajectory that looks more like stoner rock than metal at some point in the future. There are some big riffs and a heavy dose of fuzz when it counts (“Past in Haze”) though the focal point of Besvärjelsen has been vocal work since ‘Vallmo’ at least.
To paraphrase my thoughts on their debut album “It is a sincere and professional stoner metal/rock album with a lot of great ideas on hand.” and I’d additionally suggest that this Stockholm quintet continue to improve and deliver more resonant and altogether heavy doom rock’d psychedelia. Moderately high recommendation, with some slight urgency if you’re the sort to collect limited editions of this sort of thing. For preview purposes I’d suggest “In the Dark” was the groove that caught me and hooked me into the full listen but the songs that’ll make the best first impression are “When We Fall” and the beauteous “Human Habits”.
Shine a light if you’re there at all. 3.75/5.0
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