Magnolia: Svarta Sagor

Swedish retro-rock revivalists still in full bloom

TODO alt text

Sweden will forever be known for its diametrically opposed visions of grotesquely over-produced club music and brutal death metal. Often lost in such discussions is that country’s enduring fascination with the fuzzed-out bliss of 70s proto-metal.

Recent years have seen Gothenburg’s Graveyard step up as a prime mover in the retro-rock revival stakes, but 20 years before them there was Magnolia. Their name culled from a Blue Cheer song, Magnolia formed as the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Ronny Erickson, who tampers little with his trusty formula on the band’s fifth and strongest outing.

Opener Tungt Faller Regnet is a howling pentatonic joyride, awash in sticky grooves, titanic hooks and blazing fretboard swagger while the scuffed-up blues of Den Dagen Den Sorge vividly conjures Deguello-era ZZ Top.

Unlike other doom revivalists, Magnolia infuse their sprawling and occasionally proggy experimentalism with bits of Swedish folk music and sing all lyrics in their native tongue. They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel and they don’t need to.

Svarta Sagor is a contemporary, heavy and still utterly unique contribution to an increasingly cluttered genre./o:p