Surely you've heard of Sweden's WITCHCRAFT. What about Sweden's GRAVEYARD, a band that also grew out of the demise of NORRKSEN? Well, if you hadn't heard GRAVEYARD's self-titled Tee Pee debut, then certainly you've been hearing about the critical praise that sophomore release "Hisingen Blues" has been receiving. And there is a damn good reason for the hype. The scintillating, '60s- and '70s-sounding, bluesy, and psychedelic-infused classic rock stands alone for the impactful songwriting, as well as the ebullient approach GRAVEYARD took in making the timeless music of "Hisingen Blues".
Led by a soulful wail and sizzling howl from guitarist Joakim Nilsson that brings to mind a genetic mutation of Robert Plant and Chris Cornell, "Hisingen Blues" is a rock album for lovers of rock albums. As obvious as that may seem, it is all about the analog warmness within which each instrument is heard in all its fuzzed out glory crashing headfirst into songs that not only have "classic" written all over them, but that also work in unison to produce a true Side A through Side B and back again experience. Spin it once and you'll be impressed; spin it a second time and you'll be hooked for the long haul.
From LED ZEPPELIN to PENTAGRAM, JANIS JOPLIN to CREAM, and HOWLIN' WOLF to JIMI HENDRIX, "Hisingen Blues" is packed with the right stuff. The rocket launches with opener "Ain't Fit to Live Here", the first of several memorable, hot-rockin' journeys back to a golden age. A little more bluesy and a little more psychedelic, "No Good, Mr. Holden" sizzles and sways its way to the end at which point the title track kicks your ass up once side and down the other with an incredible chorus. It is like the vintage '70s track that MONSTER MAGNET forgot to cover on "Spine of God", instead settling for GRAND FUNK RAILROAD's "Sin's a Good Man's Brother". You're damn right it's all good; it's righteous, baby!
The hits just keep on coming too. Another be-all-end-all chorus hits on the laid back and bluesy "Uncomfortably Numb". Then the 60s strut 'n groove of "Buying Truth (Tack Och Förlåt)" arrives, dropping some falsetto "oohs" as a failsafe in case the goose bumps hadn't yet surfaced. The solo on the cut is a merciless destroyer of sweet spots. We might as well keep on traveling down that road and highlight the chilled out organ sounds of "Longing" and "Ungrateful are the Dead" (another monster), the swinging, soul searing hot-shitness of "RSS", and the blues-fueled might of "The Siren". These, my friends, are what are known as "friggin' jams."
Can "Hisingen Blues" be touched? No, it cannot. It is too hot to handle without flame retardant gloves. You can waste time debating issues pertaining to musical originality, or you can put those gloves on, grab this sucker, pop it into that CD player (or drop it onto that turntable), and let that river flow all over you. "Hisingen Blues" is in fact just what the doctor ordered. Seriously, I just read it in the New England Journal of Medicine.