SVÖLK – Beast Unleashed

SVÖLK - Beast Unleashed


Release date: March 18, 2005

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The name and the cover art for this Norwegian band’s debut are a bit misleading. The stark ebony cover, blood red scrawled logo, and the ominous title would seem to indicate Black Metal. However, Svölk (whose name, according to their website, means ‘kicking ass’ or ‘getting beat up’ in some parts of Eastern Norway) are significantly more benevolent than most Nordic bands. Lyrics such as ‘I am the shepherd king you seek’ indicate a definite more positive, perhaps even spiritual, nature. The vocals alternate between smooth and clear, and slightly gruff, rather like latter day Hetfield.

It could be possible that the ‘beast’ in the title refers not to some evil incarnate, but to the Iron Maiden influence that is evident in some of the guitar hooks. Listen to the loping ‘Warm Within,’ or the winding leads of ‘Carved in Stone,’ and this similarity becomes quite easy to hear. Other songs are more akin to New Orleans swamp rockers Corrosion of Conformity. With their hearty guitar chords and upbeat cadence, ‘Time For The Dying’ and ‘Overload’ could have slid easily into the track list for CoC’s latest record.

Not being as heavy as some bands, they don’t push the meters too hard production-wise, avoiding the instrument wars that plague many bands, although the drums could have been mixed a bit more boldly. While certainly not as brutal as they look from the outside, Svölk is still playing energetic, rolling rock that is great road trip or party music.

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