I have reviewed albums by several Swedish bands since I started writing reviews online in 2012, but even though I was born and grew up in Sweden (I have since transformed into a Swedish Canadian), I have never before reviewed an album by a band that sings in Swedish. That changes right now, because I can’t pass up the opportunity to review Tunga Moln’s second album Tunga Moln II. (Tunga Moln translates as “Heavy Clouds”).
This album just gets to me on every level: from the music – an original blend of heavy, psychedelic rock with prog tendencies; to the lyrics, which reveal a dark and haunting emotional landscape.
First track “In i dimman” shows off both those haunting lyrics, and the deep, enthralling, darkly lustrous sound that defines this album – the riffs swirling around those kick-ass drums are like a strong current that you can just let yourself sink into. It’s followed by one of my favourite tracks, “Rakblad”, with the guitar and bass and drums combining for some heavy ripping, soul-gripping goodness.
While this album is heavy, there are a lot more shades and nuances to the music than just that: the band itself quotes influences from ZZ-Top (among others), and you can feel that in the bluesy swing and groove of the guitar work throughout. The terrific “Glas” has a Thin Lizzy-ish feel in the intro as the guitars barrel into you full force, and there’s a rough and raw energy to this track that gives it a real sense of urgency and desperation. On “En kyss med knuten näve” that urgency intensifies, fuelled by a speed and ferocity that is unleashed in some fantastic guitar shredding.
Other standout tracks include the powerful and emotionally charged “Dra åt helvete”; the armour-piercing musical bullet “Ingen plan, ingen filosofi”; and “Slå sönder allt” – a track that is all fire and brawn, the riffs riding high, while those irresistible bass-lines tug you into the depths.
Another definite keeper is the soft and dreamy “Som rök”, a beautiful track that breathes sadness and longing, while also offering a glimmer of hope.
If you pick up the Ambassador Edition of this album, you also get two solo songs by Tunga Moln’s vocalist John Strömshed, and they are well-worth a listen. Both “Svart vatten” and the English-language track “Cascades of blood” are superbly ethereal, softly rippling dreamscapes.
Tunga Moln was formed in 2012 and this is the band’s second release after a self- titled debut album in 2013. The band was originally a two-piece with Strömshed on vocals, guitar, and bass; and Fedja Budimir on drums. After that first album, they were joined by Rasmus Bogegård on guitar, and Edvin Holm on bass. Together these guys make Tunga Moln II feel like a trippy musical magic carpet ride, and I just can’t stop listening to it.
- John Strömshed: vocals, guitar, bass
- Fedja Budimir: drums
- Rasmus Bogegård: guitar
- Edvin Holm: bass
- In I Dimman (“Into the fog”)
- Rakblad (“Razor blades”)
- Glas (“Glass”)
- En kyss med knuten näve (“Kiss with a clenched fist”)
- Dra åt helvete (“Go to hell”)
- Ingen plan, ingen filosofi (“No plan, no philosophy”)
- Det brinner i mitt huvud (“There’s a fire in my head”)
- Slå sönder allt (“Break everything”)
- Jag känner ingenting (“I feel nothing”)
- Som rök (“Like smoke”)
- Staden sover (“The city sleeps”)
- Svart vatten ** (“Black water”)
- Cascades of blood**
** Solo songs by vocalist John Strömshed, taken from a bonus 7″ included with the “Ambassador Edition” of the album.