Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Plöw - No Highness Below The Crown - Review

Plöw - No Highness Below the Crown

No Highness Below The Crown

Mighty Music
12 August 2013

The band:

Rune Baek - vocals, guitar
James Becker - guitars, backing vocals
Mads Brun - bass guitar
Rasmus Sørensen - drums

The songs:

1. Storm 3:35
2. Dig Deep 3:59
3. Margareth 1:48
4. Bloody Temper 5:28
5. Captain Fungus 3:40
6. Lord Von Gus 5:38
7. Betula 7:42
8. Pendula 9:12

Oh yeah, this is good shit! I didn't know this Danish/Icelandic quartet existed but I'm glad I know now because this is excellent stoner rock cranked to the max. Having Denmark's second largest city, Århus, as their base these guys formed back in 2009 and have released two EP's prior to this their full-length debut, No Highness Below The Crown, they take no prisoners. Balls out heavy-ass dirty rock of the stoned kind is their trademark and I love it. What I like the most is that playing this kind of music there are no resemblances of Kyuss on this album who are regarded as the founders of stoner rock. Don't get me wrong, I love Kyuss but it gets old when too many bands plays it safe and basically just copies them. Plöw, on the other hand, does nothing of that sort and instead create their own stuff all together. More originality is needed within all genres and when a band is a good as these guys the limelight needs to be put on them.

Instrumental track Storm starts off this album and it lives up to it's name. Building up slowly the tempo gradually increases until a crescendo in the middle before slowing down towards the end. Just like a storm. Dig Deep follows and it kind of reminds me of sadly defunct Stonegard from Norway especially Rune's voice but even musically a bit. His singing is desperate and haunted as he spits out the words. Good stuff! Margareth is next and is a brutal onslaught where Plöw picks up the speed. It also works just like an intro for Bloody Temper. This one kind of follows the same vein as Dig Deep although the dual guitar playing between Rune and James is more soaring, trippy if you like and the band varies the tempos quite a bit allowing their music to breathe.

Captain Fungus is the most straight forward rock song on here and it's full of nice earth rattling riffs. My already messed up neck receives more bad treatment every time this song comes on. The interplay between the lead vocals and the backing vocals reminds me so much of Plöw's fellow countrymen Disneyland After Dark. Lord Von Gus is their most diverse song shifting and changing between fast heavy parts and slower more contemplative segments while being utterly crushing in between. Betula is one of the most haunting and eerie songs I have heard in a long time. At the same time it is so beautiful in all it's gloom and sadness.

Plöw ends their debut with Pendula the longest track on this wax. Musically it's akin to Kontinuum while Rune's desperate voice simply lifts the music to a whole different level. In all honesty his voice is not the best in the world but the way he uses it basically turns it into a fifth instrument. Insanity seems to be the name of the game in the closing song, Pendula, as the band weave back and forth between spaced out trippy and disharmonic tones and truly demented singing. They never hit warp speed, instead Plöw opt for heaviness and that works perfect as they search for the ultimate sonic headfuck.

What can I say? Give me more bands like Plöw who dares to create something new. Of course, these days it is hard to be truly original but there are bands who aren't afraid of pushing the envelope and step outside the box. Some over-do it but cudos for trying; others, like Plöw, succeed and the outcome is excellent, unrestrained beautiful music. Therefore it is a crime if an album as good as No Highness Below The Crown will go unnoticed. So do the world of music and yourself a favour...go out and and get a copy and start spreading the word!

Håkan Nyman

A great ablum by Plöw. Thanks to Jacob and James at Target Group for sending us a promo.

No Highness Below The Crown is available to buy from Mighty Music now.

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