Snailking - Samsara

3 songs
35:04 minutes
***** ***


When a band takes its name from an album of Italian band Ufomammut, it shouldn’t take insiders long to figure out what to expect. Snailking are a brand new Swedish trio which plays a wicked kind of sludge doom which claims its influences to be Yob, Sleep, Electric Wizard and the aforementioned Ufomammut.

Their debut album Samsara consists of only three songs, but they make it to thirty-five minutes, so it’s clear from the onset that you are in for some true-to-form doom extravaganza. The album starts with Shelter, at nearly a quarter hour the longest track, and it definitely takes its time to unfold. Especially the first five minutes are a stellar experience of sludgy doom metal processed through some incredible post rock filter. The guitar comes with some kind of relaxed wah-wah effect, plus a whole lot more gadgetry, creating a sound which is comforting and chilly at the same time. Once this monster piece has found its pace, we get a true vision of what Snailking are capable of. The bass guitar is probably one of the most distorted I have ever encountered, at times it is even overshadowing the excellent guitar work, but that doesn’t disturb. In fact it gives the music a richly full sound you wouldn’t have expected from a three-piece. The following In The Wake clocks in at nearly twelve minutes and is another slab of ultra-slow yet ultra-brutal sludge doom. The guitar and especially the bass are trembling so strongly occasionally that a certain drone flair can’t be denied. I really love the chorus where the singer is screaming “no reason to live”, and I wouldn’t suggest any depressive person to listen to that song if they want to live to see another day. The album ends with the title track Samsara, with nine minutes the shortest piece on the album, and the listener is left wanting for more.

And that’s actually the only complaint I have. The songs may be long, but I could have done with one or two tracks more. The production and mixing is blissfully creating a dense sound out of three instruments, and the vocals vary pleasantly between anguished screams/growls and faintly more melodic parts, so that one might feel reminded of a less progressive Yob. Fans of the more extreme variety of doom metal should absolutely check out Samsara. I hope that the three Swedes will offer us more of their great music in the hopefully not too distant future.

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