Review: Tidal Wave ‘The Lord Knows’

As has been covered multiple times, by much better writers than myself, the country of Sweden, for whatever reason, something in the water perhaps, has produced wave after wave of killer heavy rock ‘n’ roll and metal over the decades. Stoner rock, or ‘70s heavy style bands seem to thrive in the country, and now, we’re getting the Ripple Music released The Lord Knows from Sundsvall’s Tidal Wave.

Tidal Wave 'The Lord Knows'

Tidal Wave made enough, ahem, waves with their debut Blueberry Muffin, that the band was, not surprisingly, snatched up by the California based label and, for the most part, offer up straight-ahead, European-style heavy stoner rock. However, they possess a secret weapon most of their contemporary’s lack in singer Alexander Sundqvist whose mega-rock-pipes are a highlight of The Lord Knows.

Opener Lizard King is a catchy, fuzzy, stomper with a soaring chorus, serving as a good mission statement, as Sundqvist makes his presence felt instantaneously. As well, Lizard King boasts a pretty awesome, emotive solo courtesy of guitarist Jesper Sjödin, and some nice basslines from Adam Nordin.

Following another straight-ahead rocker with End Of The Line, Marijuana Trench (great name) is an epic, chugging, mover featuring many layers as the band pushes a lot of air, but again, Sundqvist takes the spotlight with this rock-god pipes, but I need to mention Nordin’s bass playing again as he rumbles so fluidly in between Sjödin and drummer Rasmus Sundberg. Marijuana Trench sees Tidal Wave open up the sonic toolbox and put a lot of their arsenal on display, and even at over six and a half minutes, it flies by as the band weaves fluidly from one movement to the next.

driving, riffy, fuzzy, and crushing stoner chugging, with Sundqvist shining throughout…

On the riffy, doomy, dirge track Pentagram, Sundqvist seems to somehow channel the spirit of the late, great Ronnie James Dio, I shit you not, but perhaps mixed with a bit of his fellow countryman, Dozer’s Fredrik Nordin, and vocally it serves the fuzzy, mid-tempo, doom-chug extremely well. Robbbero Bobbbero serves up a combo of driving, riffy, fuzzy, and crushing stoner chugging, with Sundqvist shining throughout, as does Sjödin‘s varied, fuzzed-out riffing, and timely leads. By Order Of The King is an album centerpiece, with many highlights, including some epic build up, melodic breakdowns, Sundqvist’s pipes, Nordin’s killer bass work, and Sjödin‘s epic, weaving riffage, and well-timed shred.

Purple Bird follows a similar vein, as far as being another weaving, multi-layered stoner-epic, while closer, the huge, mega-riffing Thorsakir again shows Tidal Wave‘s ability to weave mid-tempo, multi-riff, stoner epics, to awesome affect, while also displaying, yet again, Sundqvist’s rock-pipes as he goes from a mellower delivery to full-on rock roars as the song weaves to its conclusion.

I’ve been listening to stoner rock since the mid ’90s. I’ve heard a ton of it, and if a band is going to make their mark in a very crowded field, bands have a couple of options; they can go down the progressive route or refine what they do to the point of standing out from the pack. I’d say Tidal Wave do a bit of both here, as they’re able to deliver what we’ve come to expect from stoner rock, but doing it in an interesting way, as the instrumentation weaves itself together so fluidly, to say nothing of Sundqvist’s stadium-roar. I used the word ‘weave’ a lot in describing The Lord Knows, as it seemed both appropriate and descriptive in describing Tidal Wave’s approach to their songs, and they do it so deftly, it never seems jarring in any way.

If one is looking for a groundbreaking stoner rock album, The Lord Knows may not be that album, but it is a very nice execution of a tried & true European-style stoner and heavy rock, served up with enough interplay from the instrumentation to make it interesting, again Sundqvists vocals are next level which help make Tidal Wave stand out from the pack. I’d recommend listening on headphones for the full aural experience, and bonus points for the awesome, yet funky album cover.

Label: Ripple Music
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams