SVÖLK is a Norwegian Heavy/Stoner Metal band, formed several years ago. They released an EP in 2005 under the title “Beast Unleashed”. Three years later the band played at the Sweden Rock festival. In 2009 the band’s debut album came out and the year after that they joined ANNIHILATOR for a European tour. Napalm Records saw hail in the Norwegians’ skills and offered them a contract. The band’s debut album got re-released under the title “Svölk ‘Em All”. It’s got new cover art and three bonus tracks, which can be found on the “Beast Within” EP: “Time For The Dying”, “Warm Within” and “Overload”. The release was set on the 18th November 2011.
“Svölk ‘Em All” begins with the track “52”. Hm, taking the KARMA TO BURN way, who also number their titles? 😉 The music sets in with the banjo and some foot tapping for the rhythm. The time to rock is near and the band maintains the same rhythm and melody. This is good stuff with a very clear and powerful production. The verses are basic, with just the bass, drums and vocals (with power and passion), while the Stoner touch comes out in the chorus. Very well done! “This Is It” takes a direct, energetic start and offers music that will do well on stage, without a doubt! You just cannot sit still here. The drums also sound very lively, as do the guitars. Vocally the singing is louder, almost shouting.
“Anchor” is a midtempo rocker with a nice rhythm and melodic chorus. The vocals are again well done. The guitar solo is wild and distorted. But the whole does sound attractive. “Sweet Agony” is the last highlight then, as things get a little less interesting/attractive. Anyway, the guitars in “Sweet Agony” show from the start what kind of rhythm and tempo you’ll get, i.e. typical stuff you’d expect from a Stoner band. The guitars are vital, but let’s not underestimate the importance of the drums. The singing is more shouty again, which could annoy rapidly. Particularly in the chorus this is the case, I’m sorry to say. The music is good, though.
“Miss Alcohol” made me think of METALLICA’s “Prince Charming” (“Reload”, 1997). The song’s got a nice rhythm, indeed comparable to METALLICA’s song, but slower. It all builds until the bubble bursts and the song really takes off into a firm midtempo. The riffing in the chorus made me again think of “Reload”. Music, including 2 solo rounds, prevails here, compared to the singing quantity. “12 Times The Pain” is a straight-forward rocker with clean (and loud) vocals. In se, ok, but why must they be so loud? Why the shouting? Of course, the music follows (or is it the other way around?). The execution is good, but it does get a bit annoying at this point, at least in my humble opinion. And the high volume is also present in “End Of Days”, where the music does groove, but also sounds Bluesier. The vocals… don’t cut it. The same style, long haules. This repetition gets annoying. Maybe it’s supposed to be done like that due to the musical style, but even so… The music is alright, albeit a bit too much of the same.
Thankfully there’s the firm and straight-forward rocker “Inferno” to save the day. Now that I do like. “Dead:30” is a more Bluesy song with a high tempo. Another highlight. Also kudos to the dual solos. “Time For The Dying” offers the typical Stoner dish, but is more humble compared to the previous track. The following “Warm Within” could have been written by IRON MAIDEN, as the music is quite similar and the tempo as high. “Svölk ‘Em All” ends with a lengthy track called “Overload” and perhaps it’s exactly that. Midtempo Stoner with shouting vocals (yes, those indeed) mixed with calmer, clean pieces (especially halfway). The instruments take over completely in the second half.
“Svölk ‘Em all” was a nice acquaintance with what SVÖLK has on offer, to be honest. The production is well done, clear and powerful. The music itself is also well written and you can hear the guys know their instruments. However – and maybe that’s a matter of preference, who’ll say? – there might be a few songs too many to make the listening of the entire album more attractive. But that’s a detail. Another detail that wasn’t as trivial to me were, yes, the shouting vocals. Nothing against it, as I find it fitting for a few tracks, but here they’ve been applied a bit too often. other than that, the Norwegians can be proud of what they’ve achieved so far, for the album is definitely worth checking out.
- This Is It
- Sweet Agony
- Miss Alcohol
- 12 Times The Pain
- End Of Days
- Time For The Dying
- Warm Within
Knut Erik Solhaug – vocals
Jo Inge Hemstad aka Jengt Castral – guitar
Martin Østerhaug – guitar
Halstein Røyseland – bass
Jørgen Seger Haave – drums