Wednesday 27 May 2015

KAMCHATKA - Long Road Made Of Gold (Album Review)

Long Road Made Of Gold

Despotz Records
22 May 2015

The songs:

1. Take Me Back Home
2. Get Your Game On
3. Made Of Gold
4. Human Dynamo
5. Rain
6. Who's To Blame
7. Mirror
8. Slowly Drifting Away
9. Long Road
10. To You

The band:

Thomas "Juneor" Andersson - vocals, guitars
Tobias Strandvik - drums
Per Wiberg - bass guitar, keyboards, vocals


I first came in touch with Kamchatka when they opened up for Clutch at Sticky Fingers in Gothenburg, Sweden, back in 2007. They blew everyone away that night, yours truly included, and I've followed them ever since. I mean, how could I not. Mixing 60's rock'n'roll with 70's heavy rock and blues amongst other styles, the band is a cut above the rest. After all, very few bands can translate their live sound to studio albums but my fellow Swedes does this with such ease.

The new album 'Long Road Made Of Gold' follows hot on the heels of 2014's ground breaker 'The Search Goes On', and is a perfect and natural extension/progression of that recording. Even more so, as Per Wiberg, who joined Kamchatka on bass guitar prior to last year's release, fits in so well. It's discernable on 'The Search Goes On' but now he has been even more involved and this "new" collaboration works wonder.

A frantic but wonderful banjo solo kickstarts opener 'Take Me Back Home' and right from the start, the band shows why they are so damned good. A mid-paced bluesy progressive track, it leaves me with a shit-eating grin on my face. Tobias Strandvik is one hell of a drummer and the stuff he pulls off right away, leaves that smile of mine even bigger. And that thumping, deep sound of Per Wiberg's bass knocks the breath out of me. What is there to say about frontman Thomas "Juneor"Andersson? A guitar wizard indeed and one hell of a singer! He reminds me so much of a young bluesy Glenn Hughes and I love it!

Next up is one of my favourite tracks, 'Get Your Game On' and you better put on your dance shoes for it. I keep bopping and hopping around like a madman on the loose, playing air guitar to THOSE riffs. Man, Juneor is on fire, just listen to the guitar solo. Groove, groove and more is the deal on 'Made Of Gold'. Tobias is playing a shuffle with Per backing him up elegantly. All of a sudden they switch into proper blues mode as Juneor tears it up on the axe. Brilliant, you hear! Those riffs people, those riffs! 'Human Dynamo' is filled with them turning the song into a stomper of a rocker. Kamchatka explodes right from the get-go and they tear it up...well that is an understatement, but you get my drift and yes, this is another of my favourites. Slowing things down with the beautiful 'Rain', the feel of Glenn Hughes can't be stronger and I love it.

'Who's To Blame' is pounding me into the ground without mercy. It's a kind of dark heavy stomper where the band pulls out all the stops to shatter my bones to dust. Starting off slowish, it builds up and builds up until I'm beaten to a bloody pulp...amazing y'all! Back to the groove and wearing dance shoes, 'Mirror' has got me bouncing off the walls since I really can't dance but who cares. Fan-fucking-tastic people, this is how it should be, damn it! Oh yeah, this is heavy blues at it's very best...I'm talking about 'Slowly Drifting Away'. It's trippy, heavy and progressive all rolled into one and marinated for days in a kettle of acid-tinged early 70's blues.

Kamchatka are not cutting any corners, instead they open floodgates and let their beauty wash over me. An eerie slide guitar straight from the heart of the delta blues, starts off 'Long Road' before Juneor starts to sing. A soft bass line and percussions backs him up throughout with the pace picking up slightly during the solo. 'To You' ends the album and is the "odd" one out being more modern in it's appearance. It has the band's trademark sound as it's foundation but is more of a present day rocker. Despite the off-kilter presentation, it is a very good song and fits in perfectly well with the rest of the songs.

Their previous album, 'The Search Goes On' has been a big favourite of mine since it's release, so I was curious to see if Kamchatka could emulate and move on further with 'Long Road Made Of Gold'. And yes, hell yes, they can and then some. Like I said in the beginning, it's the perfect and natural continuation of it's predecessor. And I love it when great bands keeps evolving without any seemingly difficulties. They just write and record new stuff and won't rehash old ideas. Kamchatka is a forerunner with that putting them in the top ranks of fantastic bands.

Words by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Brian at Fresno Media for the promo. Long Road Made Of Gold is available to buy on CD/Vinyl now through Despotz Records.

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