As an American that has been following the stoner/doom scene since the 90s, I’ve always been curious about the many strains emanating from Europe. The UK, Sweden, and Italy have produced many killer bands, in a wide range of styles, but recently Norway has produced some pretty epic riffage of their own. Kal-El’s Dark Majesty wound up on many year-end lists, and now Wolfnaut (formerly Wolfgang) a power trio from Elverum, have dropped III.
Wolfnaut’s stated influences, early hard rock and 90s desert rock are apt descriptions, for sure, but most certainly those influences are shot through a Scandinavian stoner rock lens. III was recorded live in the studio, impressive in itself, and boasts many well-crafted heavy, catchy rockers.
Opener Swing Ride serves as an OK introduction with vocalist/guitarist Kjetil Sæter’s roaring, yet melodic vocals served up over a Scandinavian desert rock groove, but isn’t necessarily indicative of what the rest of the album holds. First single Feed Your Dragon rocks along with a killer bounce, courtesy of drummer Ronny ‘Ronster’ Kristiansen, and catchy vocals, instantly reminding me of Greenleaf’s Good ‘Ol Goat a bit, certainly tonally.
Raise The Dead is a full-speed-ahead charger, complete with a great driving riff and rhythm, and an angrier bark from Sæter, and a shout-along chorus. Sequenced perfectly, this was a standout for me. Race To The Bottom meanwhile, features some great lumbering riffage from Sæter as he states what so many of us around the world have felt since 2016, with the line ‘It’s so disgustingly rotten, this race to the bottom’. Couldn’t agree more. BassistTor Erik Hagen shines on this track as well, as he weaves his bass lines in between Sæter’sriffs and Kristiansen’s drums, even dropping a killer wah-drenched bass line in the mid-section.
A fun, rocking, riffing, driving, sing-along that instantly sticks in your head…
Taste My Brew has had many repeat plays since I received the promo. A fun, rocking, riffing, driving, sing-along that instantly sticks in your head. An album highlight for sure. Wolfnaut (the song) closes III out after the fuzz-fest of Catching Thunder. Wolfnaut (again I mean the song) succeeds in cleansing the sonic palette a bit as an album-ender with massive, cosmic, slow-moving riffage, that shifts gears multiple times, showing the listener everything Wolfnaut (the band this time) has introduced throughout, as well as boasting a pretty epic scream from Sæter as they bring proceedings to a close.
III sounds massive. The aforementioned Greenleaf comparison is valid, sonically as well, as Karl Daniel Lidén, well known for his work with Greenleaf and Dozer, crafting a specific, spacious drum sound, as well as drumming himself in 90s Swedish legends Demon Cleaner, mixed and mastered III. Bjørn Barstad engineered and edited III with the band themselves listed as a producer.
In all honesty, it took a minute to absorb this record, as opener Swing Ride initially didn’t make much of an impact with me, but after repeated listens I found that to be the only blip on an otherwise killer, well-written, well-executed, well-recorded, workman-like slab of Scandinavian stoner rock.
Scribed by: Martin Williams