Magnolia: Svarta Sagor

Swedish retro-rock revivalists still in full bloom

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

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

Joe Daly

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.