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Snailking: Samsara

I like the cover on this release even though I can't say precisely what it's referring to. I took a few moments to look up "Samsara" online and discovered that it has to do with cycles of birth and decay. Wikipedia suggests that there are multiple uses of the term, but they all seem to point toward Buddhism and Jainism. I'll let those more informed worry over it. In any event, I liked the simple, mysterious, image of the woman on the cover. The art if detailed but the image as a whole is rather minimal, leaving the viewer to wonder at it meaning for the music.

Snailking is a trio out of Sweden that, according to their online bio, draws inspiration from bands like YOB, Sleep, and Electric Wizard. Given those influences, listeners should expect to hear plenty of fuzz; they won't be disappointed. Each of the songs lasts between 10-15 minutes depending on the track and drag a little more than they should. I would have preferred 5-6 songs that lasted more like 4-5 minutes each. I was nevertheless impressed with the guitars on the second track "In the Wake." It takes about two minutes for it to hit its groove, but once it does, it holds on pretty well. I also liked the way the singer starts to exclaim in Swedish in the latter third of that song. My only critique of this album is that I was expecting a little more punch in the overall sound and a little more imagination in the songwriting. Things move really slowly here, not necessarily a bad thing, but there's a fine line between boredom and waiting patiently. If you like fuzzy guitars and a snail's pace, then this is an album for you.

Track Listing:
1. Shelter
2. In the Wake
3. Samsara

Added: November 25th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 1885
Language: english

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Snailking: Samsara
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-11-25 07:02:58
My Score:

From the land of Sweden (where else?) comes melodic sludge band Snailking and their latest release Samsara. Containing just three songs of epic, droning fuzz, Samsara is certainly not for those with short attention spans. Opening cut "Shelter" has a slow build, with lilting chords eventually giving way to massive riffery and aggressive vocal bellows. The tempo doesn't change much throughout this lengthy piece, but the band certainly does kick it up a bit in the 'heavy' department. "In the Wake" also takes a while to really get to where it is going, with a somewhat psychedelic opening that eventually morphs into a doomy, swirling, sludge laden affair. The closing title track actually does away with the slow build of the first two cuts, and kicks off with some brutal intensity, featuring some of the most Black Sabbath-influenced riffs on the album, pounding drums, and anguished vocals that are somewhere between Electric Wizard, Saint Vitus, and early Mastodon. It's easily the best tune of the three, and also has some wild, trippy lead guitar work as well.

Overall, Samsara is a decent effort, neither an absolute gem nor a failure, but an album from a band that seems to have all the tools to make it in this style of metal and who just need to find their songwriting 'sweet spot' to really give us something to talk about. Definitely a band to keep your eye on it you like the whole doom/sludge scene.

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