Spelljammer – “Abyssal Trip” (RidingEasy)
Battle Helm Rating
Adding to the galactic heavyweight of bands like Earthless and Dopelord comes the Swedish atom smasher of Spelljammer, whose seven-year chill has ended in the nuclear detonation of “Abyssal Trip”! How heavy can it be I hear you ask…f–kin’ heavy? (No)….shit heavy? (NO)…mammoth heavy? (NO!) – well try Chernobyl death heavy – complete with all the fallout!!! Born to the sounds of Sabbath and growing up to Candlemass and Entombed, the trio of bassist/vocalist Niklas Olsson, guitarist Robert Sörling and drummer Jonatan Rimsbo somehow resisted the (national) temptation to down tune when they didn’t get HM Boss-2 pedals for Christmas, so they droned it out instead, right from 2012’s “Inches From the Sun” to this 4th release ‘…taking its moniker from the perpetually dark, cold, oxygen-free zone at the bottom of the ocean…’. There, under the crushing depth amid the thick, muddy sediment, the 6 tracks whose song lengths match the vastness of the oceans in question, weave a musical myriad of beauty, savagery, misery and tranquility. And it’s to be breathtakingly awed. Right from the initial feedback to ‘Lake’ that sees the trio working up a sweat before unleashing an air raid warning drone that could warp out the Richter scale, it’s like being trampled by Godzilla….slowly, very slowly indeed, and as the trio add a tasteful ambient contrast of psych guitar, jazz like bass runs and eastern percussive beats before returning to the pleasure plod, you know there is something very special indeed about messrs Olsson, Sörling and Rimsbo. Heading into the 10 minute + title track blackhole of ‘Abyssal Trip’, droning riffs lacquered by feedback, fuzzed bass and wah wailings barely allow Olsson’s bleak vocals to be heard in the dense mix topped off by doom warbling (forged superbly I might add by guitarist Robert Sörling and mastered by Monolord’s drummer Esben Willems), and as the gravity sucks you further into the psych trip topped off by stoner melodies and space rock sounds, the tempo alternates superbly to create a truly mind bending experience on this mutha of a jam. Thankfully allowing any mental disorders to subside through the gentle 2 minute ambient instrumental of ‘Peregrine’ before unloading the just over 10-minute colossus of ‘Silent Rift’, Spelljammer have held back another one of their monster riffs to end this amazing album in spectacular stoner doom fashion a la Windhand, and as the hippy harmony vocals add to tidal wave stoner groove propelled by huge rolling riffs, roughly hewn bass strings and pounded to oblivion drums, screaming wah hysteria adds its wildness and insanity to climax this out and out isolation performance recorded in a countryside farmhouse. “Abyssal Trip” is an album whose immensity can only be matched by its enjoyability.