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Domkraft - Sonic Moons review

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Band: Domkraft
Album: Sonic Moons
Release date: September 2023

01. Whispers
02. Stellar Winds
03. Magnetism
04. Slowburner
05. Downpour
06. Black Moon Rising
07. The Big Chill

Domkraft’s Seeds earned a glowing review from BitterCOld back in 2021, and for good reason; it was a strong addition to the stoner metal scene that naturally fell within the confines of the genre without feeling generic or mundane. It was a great psychedelic doomy stoner effort, and so is Sonic Moons.

Still, Sonic Moons isn’t just Seeds 2.0; I’ve had to give the albums a few listens one after another to figure out from where the minor discrepancies in my feelings towards each one were arising from. On the surface, there’s a lot of overlap between the two albums. The riffs are generally served at a middling tempo, with a hench guitar tone and plenty of groove and swagger. There’s also the expansive psychedelic textures and guitar solos that feel like they’re taking you on a journey through the cosmos (see “Black Moon Rising” for a perfect example). On top of that, the at-times harsh-tinged yet also sometimes melodic yells of frontman Martin Wegeland continue to add depth and energy to the tracks. So, what is different this time around?

Looking back at BC’s review of Seeds, what sticks out to me is how different my experience of the album is compared with what his seems to have been. He mentions repetition as a pitfall of the album; however, when I muse over what I find so compelling about Seeds, I find myself looking towards the ritualistic, droning psychedelia of “Perpetuator”, the emotionally-charged Loviatar-esque guitar leads and singing on “Into Orbit”, and the lengthy understated psychedelic instrumental stretches in “Audiodome”, all of which depart from the dense, doomy mid-tempo muscular riffage that makes up what could be considered the ‘core’ of the band’s sound.

Looking towards Sonic Moons again, some of these facets are still exhibited, with closer “The Big Chill” recapitulating a lot of what made “Audiodome” so compelling on the instrumental front. However, the group haven’t done anything quite as atmospheric as “Perpetuator” or evocative as “Into Orbit” this time around; when looking for songs that feel distinctive, the parts that most stand out are the muted, tension-building verses in “Stellar Winds” or the delicate, carefree lightness of “Downpour”, but both of these instances only represent part of their respective songs’ runtimes. This perhaps reduced range of the record did make my initial reaction to Sonic Moons slightly muted compared with what I was anticipating.

However, at the same time, even if there’s not necessarily tracks that stand out for doing something distinctive, the fundamental psychedelic riff machine approach of Domkraft is undeniably satisfying. The group are very capable of crafting elaborate journeys, with both the opening and closing songs running for over 9 minutes, and “Whispers” has a captivating ebb and flow; an understated riff lurking beneath the surface in the initial verse manages to eventually break loose and unleash its towering volume, while later on the psychedelic guitar solo is exquisite. “Whispers” is a huge, emphatic opening to the album, but Domkraft sustain the energy with bulldozing grooves in “Stellar Winds” that the aforementioned verses are sandwiched between, as well as the hefty, brooding doom force of “Magnetism”.

If Sonic Moons doesn’t perhaps have the outright peaks of Seeds, one area in which it really shines is its consistency. Every song offers plenty to enjoy, whether it’s the slick rhythm of “Slowburner” or the lively swing to “Downpour”. Even “Black Moon Rising”, which is perhaps a bit trudging earlier on, more than makes up for it with a top-notch solo. Still, as often is the case, it’s the album’s longest songs that arguably are its choice cuts; “Whispers” I’ve already discussed, but “The Big Chill” has some delightful guitarwork, from the elaborate lead guitar motif that repeats during the first half to the prolonged, super-understated bluesy psychedelic instrumental sequence in its second half.

Sonic Moons is another really solid outing from the Swedish psychedelic stoner trio, one that is allowed to shine as bright as possible by an excellent production that adds lots of depth and thickness to the heavy fuzzy riffs while also allowing the mellowness and/or eeriness of the psychedelic parts to breathe freely. Domkraft are a band that have really figured out their sound and what they want to achieve, and with Seeds and now Sonic Moons, they’re delivering in spades.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 9

Written on 14.09.2023 by Hey chief let's talk why not

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