Release date: October 25th 2015. Label: Self Released. Format: DD
Explore The Void – Tracklisting
1.Imperial Duster 06:22
2.Meet On Mars 04:23
3.Holy Oath 03:27
4.Tzar Bomba 07:44
6.Demon Of The Sands 04:01
7.Dr. Plague 05:32
9.Ceasing To Exist 09:16
Ankko Kaján - Lead and backing vocals, Guitars
Martin Ahlö - Lead and Backing, vocals, Guitars
Axel Nordman - Lead and Backing vocals, Bass
Joel Kronqvist - drums
Craneium’s debut album – Explore The Void – is a rare album that comes out of nowhere and makes a lasting impression on you. If you’re a fan of Truckfighters, Kyuss, Sabbath and Wo Fat then Craneium deserve your attention.
Opening track – Imperial Duster – starts with a Fuzz/Desert Rock soaked groove with the band opting for a crazy sci-fi based vibe with tales of illegal races along the Milky Way. You’re bound to detect the Star Wars influence and it’s an interesting idea as these guys have a slight Monster Magnet influence going on. It’s crazy, yeah, no doubt but the band are having so much fun it’s hard not to get caught up by it all. The vocals are pitch-perfect as they have the right amount of charm and style to give the song an extra layer of confidence.
Second track – Meet On Mars – carries on the sci-fi/space-rock theme with a trippy 60s based organ before the heavier sludge based riffs make themselves known. It’s a different kind of Fuzz vibe compared to the first song but there’s a slight menacing mood with the band opting for a heavier approach. It allows the band to venture into Heavy Metal style theatrics but it’s the Psychedelic Fuzz atmospherics that keeps you entertained through out.
Third Track – Holy Oath – has a lo-fi punk sound drowned under the distorted noises as you feel this is a different band from the first two tracks. Imagine Kyuss given a Punk-Rock makeover and that’s the best way to describe this song. It’s an exciting song though I wasn’t expecting the lo-fi punk vibe. It’s good to see a band like Craneium experimenting with the standard Fuzz/Desert/Stoner Rock sound.
Fourth track – Tzar Bomba – is one of the standout songs on the album as the band delve further into their Psych/Fuzz/Desert Rock sound with layers of distorted Sludge/Stoner Rock being played in the background. The vocals change direction and delivery yet again as this band doesn’t stick to one set sound. It’s the same scenario with the music as the band experiment with their sound as they create a dangerous cocktail of delicious and dangerous Psychedelic Fuzz.
Fifth track – Harvest – sees the band opt for a more stripped back approach with the riffs being played at a slow pace that verges on Industrial Rock mixed with heavy pounding Sludge/Stoner riffs. The ambient based noises add a certain sense of calm before the band unleash a non-stop barrage of violent Stoner/Desert sounds that would make Truckfighters proud to call their own.
Maybe I’m giving too much away with this album review. The band have 4 other songs to entertain you with and believe me when I say Craneium create even heavier far-out riffs seen on the first half of the album. Truth be told, Craneium opt for a more Doom Metal approach with the Fuzz/Desert Rock vibes giving way to a heavier doom and gloom approach. There are still huge amounts of fun to be had on Demon Of The Sands, Dr Plague and Witchcoven.
The final song on the album is where Cranieum impress the most. Ceasing To Exist is an epic 9 minute song that has an Atmospheric Doom/Post-Metal quality about it though it’s the traces of intense Psych Stoner Rock that holds everything together. Cranieum end the album on such a high note. It’s almost impossible not to be moved by this song as it’s very emotional at times especially when the acoustic psych guitars appear towards the end of the song.
Craneium have created a crazy, fuzz-tastic and doom-laiden psychedelic surreal road trip into the unknown. Explore The Void is a brilliant debut album. Check it out. You won’t be sorry.
Words by Steve Howe