Continuing to forge a formidable uncompromising sound from heavy rock and doom metal, Swedish band el Camino return with second album Gold of the Great Deceive, a powerful release which enflames the senses with its vast multi-flavoured essences and muscular frame. Consisting of eight encounters bred from cultural, occult, and historical elements, with an array of musical inspirations to reap the strongest essences of all, the album intrigues and satisfies with a craft and what verges of mischievousness, for something as compelling as it is heavily weighted.
el Camino formed in the winter of 2002/03 though initially was not a hard driven project as its members had commitments with other projects. With a line-up change in 2008 the band felt like it was a new beginning and began exploring new and older material which had been shelved in the previous years. From the Satanik Magiik EP of 2010 the band recorded their debut album, also called Satanik Magiik which had its release through Night Tripper Records the following year. Gaining strong responses and acclaim the quintet of vocalist Daniel, guitarists Nicke and Jimmy Sjöqvist, bassist Timmy Persson, and drummer Mattias Johansson earned further recognition with a split release alongside Rise And Shine called Swedish Assault – A Sacrifice to Venom in 2012 and the Småland EP earlier this year, all appetisers for the heavyweight Gold of the Great Deceive.
The new album is sure to win the band new eager friends though possibly it is not the key yet to the widest recognition, not that it does not impress in every aspect. It is a demanding album which stares eye to eye with the listener as rhythms cast a weighty web upon the ear and riffs oppress with incendiary sonic finery riding their intensive provocation. It will not be for everyone one suspects, its bulk unrelenting in its pressure but for blues enriched, flame swamped heavy rock it is a more than rewarding distraction from the mundane and unimaginative realms of rock.
The title track opens on a breaking storm as the guitars weave a tantalising melodic beckoning soon to become a quite irresistible sinew driven rhythmic call to arms. As guitars and bass unload their muscular intent alongside a vocal squall, the track swaggers and sways with seductive provocation before the ear, evolving into a transparently addictive lure as that spicy opening groove returns to seduce either side of more gruff vocal calls and sonic testing. As senses licking flames of sonic excellence spring from the guitar for an enthralling solo, the song secures full submission to its smothering yet invigorating presence and introduces the release with a thoroughly riveting venture which to some extent is not matched again on the album.
The following This Land of Mine continues the cultural exchange between lyrics, passion, and thoughts with another pleasing stretch of anthemic vocal calls, well-toned rhythmic force, and melodic imagination. It has to be said that lyrically the album is not the most inventive but is acceptably straight forward to complement the equally direct and unfussy inventive sounds. Though it does not reach the heights of its predecessor it is another incitement of the imagination which steps aside for the more burdening gait of Black Witch Love. With smouldering melodic vapours and sonic winds, the song is a classic rock whispering occult coaxed slab of grievous heaviness from every quarter of its hardy evocation and an instant highlight immediately replaced by another.
Småland is ripe with werewolves and other predators of the night in its tale and is sound-tracked by a stalking narrative from drums and bass which lick voracious through slowly drawing back lips as a melodic mist of potent descriptive atmospheres and hues paints the intimidating scenery. Carrying a suggested sludge endeavour to its doom spawned croon of terror, the song leaves a sure appetite for more awakened.
Arguably through the likes of Torn, The One of Evil, and The Wizard the album slips into an unsurprising stature filled with thickly coloured musical narrative, though this is more from reaping the richness of previous songs than from losing its uniqueness to other bands. Each still creates a companionship which is easily accepted, enjoyed, and returned to whilst the closing Utmarsch provides one final pinnacle with its crawling aggression and venomous devilry.
Gold of the Great Deceive growls at the ear with craft and heavily honed rock devilment to provide a tasty feast of sonic and melodic fire, and though it might not be amongst best of year choices come December it will remain one of the more appetising fires to come along this year.
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