Sometimes I walk into the record store, to get pulled by my lapels as it were. "Here," a voice whispers urgently, "listen to this." This is what happened the other day, and the voice was that of the heavily tattooed skater guy - trousers so insanely oversized that he appeared to have no knees - employed by the local record store. He handed me a pair of headphones and the CD case of a debut by a Skandinavian band called Krux. "Candlemass and Entombed members," he added furtively.

I never much liked Candlemass and the Entombed members in Krux weren't of the original Entombed line-up. The presence of their drummer (Peter Stjärnvind) caused me give it a go. You never know. In the 15 years I have been sponsoring this record shop they have caused me to discover quite a few bands. Maybe this was the next one.

What I heard was kindof spacy doom metal. Very very heavy, doom-laden and slow, with apparently down-tuned guitars. The spacy effect was mainly due to use of a synthesizer. I liked it enough to go ahead and buy it.

Krux started out as a solo project of bassist and Candlemass guy Leif Edling. In the end some other people joined, including vocalist Mats Leven. In Krux he sings rather well, whereas the earlier times I heard him (when he was in Malmsteen's band) he just shouted all the time and I didn't like it that much.

"Krux" is no smorgasbord of riffs, instead someone might reckon they're in fact quite repetitive. It works perfectly to get across the blunt heaviness of their music, with a smidgen of Queens of the Stone Age here and there. Unfortunately, the album includes a few tracks that I am rather less enhusiastic about. "Sibiria" is an acoustic ditty that is out of place and superfluous. "Evel Rifaz" is a (bass or downtuned guitar) solo, almost 2 minutes long, that is similarly a waste of my time. It's worse than Cronos' live bass solo, additionally seemingly laced with every known effect in the recording industry. Further on the album we get treated to a guitar 'solo' (for lack of a better word) in "Lunochod - Oceanus Procellarum". Because of these lesser moments, as well as the closing multi-index 'epic' track ("Lunochod") that varies rather too much in style and quality, "Krux" is not the album it might have been. I've read reviews where it is hailed as the definitive doom metal album, or at least the best doom metal album of the decade, but that's way off the mark as far as I am concerned. Krux play damn good metal but they occasionally just make a lot of uninteresting noise. Without the noise the album would have been far more enjoyable.



Written March 2003


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