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SPELLJAMMER

Spelljammer

Abyssal Trip

    Abyssal Trip (note: carefully re-read that album title) takes its moniker from the perpetually dark, cold, oxygen-free zone at the bottom of the ocean. The 6-song, 44-minute album fittingly embodies that bleak realm with rumbling, oozing guitars intercut with dramatic melodic interludes. The songs take their time to unfurl, making them even more hypnotic. Likewise, the lyrics take a poetic approach to establishing the sonic scenery.

    “The lyrical themes we address, like the ultimate doom of man, and the search and longing for new and better worlds, are still there,” Olsson says. “The concept of something undiscovered out there in vast emptiness is pretty much always present.”

    The recording process for Abyssal Trip differs from previous releases in that the band — guitarist Robert Sörling, drummer Jonatan Rimsbo and Olsson — opted to capture the performances while holed up in the mental bathysphere of a house in the countryside near Stockholm. “The songs benefitted from the relaxed environment of being away from everything,” Olsson explains. Indeed, the album sounds confident and meticulously arranged, afforded by the band’s isolation. Sörling mixed the album and it was mastered by Monolord drummer Esben Willems at Berserk Audio.

    Album opener “Bellwether” begins dramatically with a very slow, nearly minute-long fade in of rumbling distortion setting the stage for heavily distorted bass and guitar plucking out the lugubrious riff for another minute and a half before the drums begin, and likewise equally as long before vocals gurgle to the surface. “Lake” abruptly shifts gears, opening with an unusually fast gallop before rupturing into thundering doom that soon drops into a clean-tone Middle Eastern melodic breakdown. The title track serves as the album centerpiece, opening with ominous film dialogue about blood sacrifice that launches into pummeling, detuned guitars rumbling over gut-punching drums and howling vocals hearkening to the proto-sludge of Pink Floyd’s “The Nile Song.” The dynamic relents briefly for a slow building clean guitar melody before all instruments lock into a jerking riff topped off by a trilling Iommi style lead. Throughout, Abyssal Trip is, just like its title suggests, an epic tour through desolate zones which yields much to discover. 

    Spelljammer

    Inches From The Sun

      Riding Easy Records presents a domestic reissue on CD and first time vinyl pressing of this celebrated Swedish trio’s 2010 debut album Inches From The Sun —a groove based hybrid of classic Desert Rock and rumbling European doom that launched the band to international acclaim! “Spelljammer is some sort of hybrid between Acid King and a balls-kicking machine that has been buried in the sand outside Kyuss’ rehearsal ‘space’ just waiting to be unbleached.” — PlanetFuzz “Here is yet another pretty amazing Stoner Rock band from / Sweden, and man do these guys really deliver the goods. Slow, bass-heavy, and insanely fuzzed-out stoner doom jams are what this band is all about.” — Heavy Planet “This is for fans of Sleep, Lowrider, Kyuss, Slo-Burn and Acid King, but if this is a debut, one can foresee only great things for this band, including the overcoming of the masters!” —Sludge Swamp

      “We like things on a grand scale,” says Spelljammer bassist/vocalist Niklas Olsson. That’s a bit of an understatement considering the Stockholm, Sweden trio’s penchant for massive, slow-burning sludge riffs intercut with dramatic melodic interludes. There’s the pummeling heft of detuned guitars rumbling across the rugged expanse of unwieldy drums counterbalanced with moments of Master of Reality-era Sabbath’s introspective acoustic breaks and Pink Floyd’s Meddle-era psychedelia. These extreme shifts in dynamic give the band’s third album a sense of epic depth unlike most of Spelljammer’s peers.

      “The vastness of everything is something that I seem to think about a lot,” Olsson says, “and I guess that shows in the lyrics.” Some of Ancient of Days’ words were inspired by the epic poem Aniara by Swedish author and Nobel laureate Harry Martinson in which a spaceship leaving an uninhabitable Earth is hurtled off course, sending its thousands of passengers on a steady course in the wrong direction and there is nothing they can do about it. They will all slowly die as the ship continues from the solar system, forever into nothingness. This type of apocalyptic woe permeates throughout the 5-song, 40-minute album in perfect bond with the vastness of the music.

      Ancient of Days is not just the band’s third release, but in many ways, a rebirth. It’s Spelljammer’s first recording as a trio — with Olsson taking over bass duties and new drummer Jonatan Rimsbo battering the skins — and the culmination of a progressive move toward a heavier, doom-laden sound, away from the desert rock leanings of their 2010 debut Inches From the Sun. Vol II saw the band spreading out into darker territories. After writing sessions fell apart in 2013 for a followup to Vol II (reissued in early 2015 by RidingEasy Records) Olsson and guitarist Robert Sorling scrapped nearly everything following the departure of half of the band. The two began to build from the ground up as a duo with new ideas that resulted in the invigorated Ancient of Days. It’s the band’s most focused and deliberate in both its complexities and simplicities.

      “Having recorded the previous two albums in a more patchwork kind of way,” Olsson says, “we were very set on going into one studio and doing the entire thing.” In so doing, they banged it all out over a weekend in January 2015 at Ingrid Studio in Stockholm, with engineer Christoffer Zakrisson at the helm. Here, syrupy guitars ooze from the speakers, the drums sound like they’re perched atop a giant barge and howling vocals float throughout the proceedings. Ancient of Days very effectively embodies the boundless, otherworldly essence of its inspiration.

      TRACK LISTING

      Meadow
      Laelia
      From Slumber
      The Pathfinder
      Borlung


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