Robert Lamu – vocals, guitar
Henrik Grüttner – guitars, backing vocals
Tim Ångström – bass guitar, backing vocals
Martin Larsson - drums
When I hear a band for the first time and I can't pigeon-hole them that is THE sign for greatness, if you ask me. Obviously, there are bits and pieces that evoke similarities of other bands in any album, but if those parts are secondary to the big picture, you'll have a one-of-a-kind wax in your hands. And that's exactly the case with Sweden's Skraeckoedlan and their second full-length, 'Sagor', which was released recently. Since I had only heard of the band and never actually listened to their music, playing 'Sagor' for the first time was mind altering. And that hasn't changed one bit as I'm unable to stop playing it.
A heavy sonic barrage erupts the very second I press play. Finding myself knocked to the ground, I slowly make it back up to standing position. Still shook up by what’s happening, the immense beauty Sckraeckoedlan emanates, quickly envelopes me and everything is resolved and I have finally found enlightenment. Before I know it, the uppercut that is the instrumental opener ‘Prolog’ is over and the trippy, pummelling monster ‘Gigantos’ takes over. More elaborate and a fantastic ebb and flow to tempos while sung in Swedish, is what makes this song a monster in the best possible way. The guys are amazing musicians but instead of masturbating with their respective instruments, they know how to write excellent and captivating songs which results in an album of epic proportions, as with ‘Sagor’. ‘Epos’ follows and while the band retains their trademarked heavy pummelling, this one is slightly, albeit very marginally, slower. It is very clear, especially on this one, that Skraeckoedlan has a great knack for building up songs and let them increase in speed and power until you’re sucked into a vortex of holy-fuck! ‘Awen’ is a short in-your-face instrumental piece that kind of acts as an intro to ‘El Monstro’. A trip and a half indeed where I find myself floating around outer space to this psychedelic soundtrack. Robert Lamu takes a step back as guest vocalist Matilda Mård takes the center stage. Her performance is top notch as her delicate touch in parallel with Skraeckoedlan’s sonic onslaught leaves me breathless.
Eerie and claustrophobic ‘Odjuret’ slithers and crawls out from the depths of the deep oceans – read hell – before causing havoc and madness. Again, they keep the music at mid-tempo while building up the pace and the atmosphere and it works fantastically well. ‘Flod’ follows is the most straightforward rocker on the album, in lack of better words. Albeit not fast the structure of it is what makes it more of a rocker in my opinion. ‘Squidman’ is mainly instrumental with the exception of some sampled voices throughout. Soaring, spacey guitars playing on top of some exceptional bass and drum work with a deft switching between tempos, makes this my favourite track on ‘Sagor’ alongside ‘El Monstro’. Speeding things up slightly, ‘Mothra’ is another mind-altering songs the band has created. The bridges are crushing while the verses brings out a very nice experimental side of Skraeckoedlan. The album ends in full psychedelic fashion with ‘Epilog’. Trippy, meditative and out there, the band couldn’t have opted for a better way to tie the album together and get full closure.
I know I should already have checked these guys when their debut ‘Äppelträdet’ came out but I didn’t. But that doesn’t matter, since I finally got around to it with this, their sophomore release…and I am so sold on my fellow Swedes. So I urge you all to explore the fantastic world Skraeckoedlan has created. Don’t miss out, you hear!
Words by Håkan Nyman