Sunday 1 May 2016

Vokonis - Olde One Ascending (Album Review)

Release date: May 25th 2016. Label: Ozium Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Olde One Ascending – Tracklisting

1.Olde One 08:06
2.The Serpent's Alive 08:18
3.Acid Pilgrim 06:54
4.Shroomblade 08:33
5.King Vokonis Plague 08:51
6.Hazmat the Ashen Rider 07:43

Band Members:

Simon Ohlsson - Guitar, Vocals
Emil Larsson - Drums
Jonte Johansson - Bass, Backing Vocals


It seems just a few breaths away since I last reviewed another new and upcoming band risen from the ashes of a molten tomb wherein the remnants of a great now defunct band once dwelled. This time it’s Borås, Sweden’s own fuzz doom metal purveyors in Vokonis that like a weedstruck Phoenix has awoken from a former existence as Creedsmen Arise. The fire sure burns strong within this newly dawned feathery beast as Vokonis in all aspects surpass anything previously done by the Creedsmen.

The thing that hits you straight in the face upon engaging with King Vokonis and his army of Olde Ones is a fist of immensely dense guitar tones, heavy as hell bass lines and slow pounding drums feeling equal in scale as to be crushed by mountains. Not to mention the vocals that are deep-bellowed, not overly aggressive, yet suitable for any battle-march. This is the perfect match for this type of stoner and doom music as they add just the right amount of energy and tension balancing out the heavy riffs and rhythms.

However, what sets this album apart and really expands the gap down to all the other bands trying to sound Sleep-like while re-enacting dull dopesmoker interpretations, is the riffs. I mean the RIFFS. They are the centrepiece of Olde One Ascending, the pivotal vortex everything circles around. It’s the riffs that Simon and the other guys bring to sacrifice on this communion that makes this such an enjoyable listen and so insanely good. Olde One Ascending contains by far the meanest and at the same time catchiest riffs, I have heard within this genre this year. Well, does this mean they top outings from bands such as Spelljammer and Monolord? You damn straight they do, and they do so while driving them to the floor with 6-inch nails.

What about guitar solos? Did I forget to mention the solos on this album, oh man, they're out of this world. Oozing with the vilest fuzz, the solos on here are almost celestial sounding, like as if Simon had been possessed by some evil-minded creature determined to execute its diabolic deeds by the neck of his six-stringer. You’ll get it once you hear it and a prime example in case is the final 3 minutes of second track ‘The Serpents Alive’.

What I really love about this album is the fact that you are never in doubt that this is indeed a power-trio in the truest essence. This means that all three members contribute equally to the sonic work laid out in front of you. So while the guitar is soloing, the bass takes a leading role managing the rhythm section, which is a killer (sorry) feature that really drives this point home. The bass comes lucidly through the soundscapes and gets a voice and role of its own. It's strongest during the short bass solo midway through the phenomenal ‘Shroomblade’. This jazzy midsection is more than a worthy tribute to Black Sabbath and is it a young Geezer Butler I hear.

It is neigh impossible to point out one track over the others as all do a perfect job of channelling your inner rifflord to the outmost perfection. All 6 songs on here are equal in scope, depth, heaviness, smokiness and they all bang through hazy, fuzzy, metal-incrusted soundscapes with conviction traversing battlefields of wars between ancient kingdoms in lost galaxies on a quest for a legendary sword forged in a bygone area.

I’m floored, and it’s hard to stay objective when listening to someone honing the greats in such a cool and comprehensive way. Vokonis excel in what they do and could prove to be the torch-bearers confirming that worshipping the riff and paying homage to past masters never grow old or out of relevance. It is with peace of mind that I can greet King Vokonis and welcome him as the new heir to the stoner doom throne, where he surely will sit alongside the other greats in the metal realm on judgement day at the dusk of 2016. Stellar job guys!

Now, I don’t know what Ozium Records are up to next, but picking up the scabs from former great constellations thus far has proven to be more than a worthy formula for success. Both Bad Acid and Vokonis rocks on randomly repeat at my domicile shaking the ground and bringing down the walls. Whatever is next on the plate at the Malmö based label, I’m pretty sure it’s bound to be equally interesting and of the highest calibre.

Words by Niels Fuzz Bartholdy

Thanks to Vokonis and Ozium Records for the promo. Olde One Ascending is available to buy digitally now. CD will be released on 25th May whilst the Vinyl will be available to buy from June/July 2016 via Ozium Records.


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