Sweden doesn’t contain anything remotely resembling a desert. Vast conifer forests, rugged North Sea coastlines, pleasant green fields… sure. But a desert? The closest thing you’ll find to that environment in Northern Europe is the Curonian Spit. And yet curiously, the land of ABBA and meatballs is perhaps the second most noteworthy hotbed of high-octane desert rock outside of Southern California, with Truckfighters and Lowrider being just a few examples. Mexicoma has decided to come along and strap us into the passenger seat of their muscle car in their first album since 2014’s Obsidian Monolith.
This album features the band’s newest singer, Aron Andersson, who replaces original vocalist Magnus Olsson. The opener Heavy Hand displays the pipes of the new frontman. He has a slightly deeper register than his predecessor and reads the Neil Fallon-esque spoken word bits with a flawless American accent (‘Flyin’ high on a Friday night…cruisin’ the outskirts of Orion on my way to Venus from Mars’). The meat-n-potatoes guitar riffing is exactly what you’d expect from Mexicoma, so we’re obviously in familiar territory.
Zombie Barricade enters the fray, delivering a bluesy number on the unfortunate predicament of becoming one of the shambling living dead, with a humorous suggestion of zombies being in danger of becoming roadkill on the desert highways with lines like ‘You’re way too slow… you’re way too slow!’.
soft melody and vocal harmonies to primeval cries and bruising guitar riffs…
Through The Halls Of Sleep trades the energetic road burners for a lumbering monolithic doom tune. For my money, this is the best track on the record, with an impressive display of Andersson’s throat-shredding howls. Noticeably, the album’s tone somewhat shifts at the halfway mark, becoming a bit more emotional and mournful than fun-loving. This is welcomed, because if I’m being honest, Mexicoma are in somewhat in a need of more originality in their sound. It is desert rock done right, it’s just down to the last detail in a way that leaves the listener wanting something more. Subsequent tracks like Earth Mother and 99 Eyes veer dangerously close to banality.
The closer Follow The Crow is an appropriate song to end the album on, with a classic (if basic) build from soft melody and vocal harmonies to primeval cries and bruising guitar riffs. Even so, with their new vocalist in tow, I do hope Mexicoma try to make an effort to mix up their formula and perhaps maybe veer away from the desert sound they so proudly embrace. This isn’t bad stoner rock, it’s ultimately just overly familiar and done better by other bands.
Scribed by: Rob Walsh