Domkraft - Sonic Moons

Angry Metal Guy

The departed Huck N’ Roll, who has not been reduced to a nutritious paste designed to keep n00bs clinging to life, loved up on Domkraft’s 2021 release Seeds. Huck considered the third album by these Swedes to be the best stoner/psych doom album of that year. The readership shared his enthusiasm to a point, while also noting that the effort felt like psychedelia as played by those who eschew psychedelics. I agreed with both camps; Seeds is a fun listen, but it does occasionally seem like the work of three talented members of the school orchestra who drank some punch spiked with liquid acid at the prom.1 Can their new slab Sonic Moons maintain the quality of Seeds while adding that missing element of, hm, let’s call it hesher-osity? Let’s drink deep of this punchbowl and see if Domkraft can show us some cool shit like stars with faces in them.

Fourth track “Slowburner” ends with singer and bassist Martin Wegeland screaming “I see faces in the stars!” over and over again… so yep! I can report that Domkraft sounds convincingly lysergic on Sonic Moons. It’s an anxious kind of high, though, like they’re eager to come back to reality but it’s just not happening. Wegeland’s vocals often build to climactic screamed invocations, all while the drums of Anders Dahlgren push things along more than is typical for this Sleep-y sub-genre. The usual comparative touchstones apply–Monster Magnet, Hawkwind, Electric Wizard–but the tension between the fuzzy antics of Wegeman’s bass and Martin Widholm’s guitar and the jittery singing and drumming make for a novel enough take on a subgenre that’s typically too stoned to innovate. When you come down from this forty-seven-minute trip, it’s obvious that, while Sonic Moons doesn’t surpass Seeds in every way, the fourth album from this trio is a worthy follow-up and another standout in the inert world of stoner doom.

Sonic Moons by Domkraft

The same personnel from Seeds return to tinker with the band’s sound rather than overhaul it. Opener “Whispers” sets the pattern, as Widholm’s riffs and solos get the head nodding while Wegeland’s vocals remind you that life is not one big ball of shroomy bliss. Nine minutes is a long time to hold the attention of Ferox‘s addled ears, but “Whispers” pulls it off. “Stellar Winds” flashes some space rock guitar heroics that I haven’t heard from Domkraft before. Widholm is a varied and nimble guitarist, keeping even the longest of these compositions on their toes. Some of his solos here evoke the expansive Earthless, a welcome new wrinkle in the band’s sound. The more authentically psychedelic vibe emerges from these moments and from Wegeland’s committed vocal performance. Those minor changes enhance the otherwise familiar Sonic Moons; Domkraft is largely content to stick to a sound that works for them but has not yet been played out.

Downsides include the fact that the band blew their budget for another dope-ass 3D album cover on come-down munchies. Even as a pace-setter in the sub-genre, Sonic Moons shares some of the flaws of its brethren. Last track “The Big Chill” meanders about for almost ten minutes instead of making a massive closing statement. Wegeland’s lyrics seldom match the versatility and quality of his actual singing. The realization that these songs are very likely to end with Wegeland screaming the song title at you six or eight or ten times as the music crescendos robs the compositions of some of their power. The dynamic range of 4 should concern anyone willing to pose for a metal band photo in a Brian Eno t-shirt, even if the album itself presents a thick ion storm of sound that’s more effective than that score might indicate.

Sonic Moons succeeds in slightly different ways than Seeds–the vibe here is improved, while I rate the songs on Seeds a bit higher. The two slabs feel like twin volumes of a book series that manage to maintain their quality without one obviously outpacing the other. Domkraft apply passion and even some ingenuity to a corner of metal-dom that often lacks both. They’ve opted to pretty much keep doing their thing here, and that turns out to be a good choice. I may rate this sub-genre less highly than Huck, but it still feels like Domkraft is near the ceiling of what can be cooked up with these familiar ingredients.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Magnetic Eye Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: September 8, 2023

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Mon Sep 18 19:13:09 GMT 2023