Saturday 13 July 2013

Vinyl Corner : S:t Erik - From Under The Tarn (Album Review)

S:t Erik
From Under The Tarn

Spora Recordz

S:t Erik Band Members

Erik Nordstrom - bass & vocals
Tomas Eriksson - guitars
Magnus Wikmark - guitars
Fredrik Aspelin - drums
Mats Norman - synthesizers

My choice cut of doom? Ha! That's an easy one.

From Under The Tarn, the debut full-length by S:t Erik, is a psychedelic doom masterpiece with heavy-hitting riffage, infectious grooves, cosmic synth and soaring, always-clean vocals. That's what I'd pick. It's my go-to, my top-dog, my numero-uno vinyl reissued last year by Spora Recordz.

Good gawd I love it. Lemme give you an idea how much: it's one of the few test-pressings I have in my record collection, in addition to the regular version. Almost a year after it came out, the vinyl is still in heavy rotation at my house and it kicks my ass - blowing my mind - every time I listen to it. I can't seem to get enough.

If you ask me, S:t Erik own this genre with one album under their belt. Jeez. There's just SOMETHING about these Swedes' tunes. Something incredibly dismal, dark and hopeless yet often impossibly beautiful and inviting; something ominous and emotionally painful, albeit somewhat optimistic. Something immense. The whole damn record is something else and the music affects me deep down in my soul. Seriously. It touches me the way I wish all music would - the way I think it should.

"Goddess" opens with immediate riffs - hard, thick ones - and doesn't really ever let up. It grabs my attention at once and driving, pounding rhythms take me all the way home. "The Search" ebbs and flows with psychedelic bliss, then builds, recedes and builds again. Minutes later I find the heaviness I'm seeking; by the end I'm flooded with it. Guest vocals make for an exceptional male/female duo on this song. Put together, that's almost 20 minutes of fantastic doom right there, in my humble opinion.

"Your Highness" is my least-favorite. I don't think the faster tempo flows with the other songs and the synthesizers are a little overwhelming, but it still rocks and precedes maybe the best highlight on the album for me, the looming "Black Wall".  It's a freaking monster with its rumbling bass, dense riffs and tripped-out atmosphere. So is the closing "Swan Song", at over 13 minutes long.

You gotta hear this stuff!

But it's not only the music that gets to me; it's the lyrics, too. Sometimes I swear the guy is singing exactly what I've been thinking during different moments in my life. And he's doing it with complete sentences. Weird, huh? Here's an example from the first track: 'Loneliness is a small price to pay to be excused from any further experiences - the ones that make me confuse the concepts of enjoyment and discomfort. I belong with a Goddess and I won't settle with less.' I could go on and on.

Wishing I could tell you more about this band, but alas, I don't know much except to tell you they bring the doom. The Sludgelord did an interview with them a while back, yet even then, they were pretty mysterious.

From Under The Tarn is a must-have for any fan of heavy psychedelic doom. The vocals are bonus. You can still grab the clear 2lp from Spora Recordz or the cd/digital version from their Bandcamp. If I had to pick one recent doom record that I'd highly recommend, this would be it. Stream this gem below.

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