Tuesday, 6 September 2011

THALAMUS - Subterfuge (CD)

Borlänge-based heavy rockers Thalamus’ debut album was one of the releases that really knocked me out when it arrived. It was one hell of a debut, filled to the brim with fat riffs and heavy grooves. As a small taster for the follow-up the band released a very nice MCD entitled Sign Here For Nothing. When the second full length album Subterfuge now arrives it’s no thunder and lightning and no brutal riff that pleasantly smashes your forehead. Nope, the album opens with almost three minutes of soft, almost jazz/folky, but still quite heavy prog using only vocals, guitars, keyboard, and halfway through also bass, but no drums. It’s definitely a great song, but very surprising. Furthermore it’s only entitled Intro. Well, have no fear, in second track Bring Down Mary they prove the riffs and groove is there! After this When Goblins Cheer brings it all into a dead heavy doom territory, but with a very melodic chorus, which I also didn’t expect. I like that the boys dare to explore new territories, it makes it all a bit more interesting. Blind actually brings in some vintage Purple overtones, distorted Hammond and all, and with a chorus that sounds very much Purple Perfect Strangers era, but with Kjell’s bluesy vocals taking it in a totally different direction. Still Dancing On My Grave brings another dose of ultra-potent riffing which is something of a trademark of this band. The track I Hope You Understand is the only survivor off the intermediate MCD, here re-mixed by Daniel Bergstrand to fit the rest of the disc, and it sure does both musically and soundwise. One of my absolute favourite tracks is the ultra-groovy and almost funky Shot To Hell, which makes it impossible to sit still. The riff fest continues on the She Sells Desolation, which kicks off in quite an unorthodox way with a guitar riff and drums that suddenly stops, like the drummer forgot the rhythm, but soon picks up. Very funny indeed and with another memorable riff. Love Is Shining On The Dead Man almost draws near singer/guitarist Kjell Bergendahl’s side project Renaissance Of Fools with its cool, slightly psychedelic feel. The album finishes with the cool stomping cool riffster Through The Fields, where the riff almost sounds like ugly ogres walking through a stony field, lifting their feet and stomping down hard and firm. Is it better than the debut? I kinda see them as two totally different entities as they are quite different, even though the basic formula is still there, and I feel one completes the other. You can easily play the two back to back without feeling any sense of repetition. Killer stuff!

Janne Stark
Label: Transubstans
Year: 2011
Country: Sweden
Link: http://www.thalamusband.com/

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