Svölk - Nights Under the Round Table (Napalm Records)
By: Mike Sloan
[7.5/10] A classic album to get all fuzzy and crusty to, Nights Under the Round Table is. Svölk has returned with their third full-length release of stoner metal/rock (though they apparently don’t like being labeled as such) and it’s safe to say the record is solid from start to finish. In typical fashion of bands from this subgenre of metal, the album strolls a down slower, groove-laden path through a thick haze laced with THC and splattered with beer and bong water. The result is a collection of songs that aren’t too heavy, too slow, or too wacky; like the finer elements of Fu Manchu, Monster Magnet, Down, etc.
There isn’t a weak song in the lot as each carries the listener on a trip that ebbs and flows like the sea, but it remains calm enough not to rock the boat. As expected, there isn’t any guitar trickery or anything overly complex. Instead what is delivered is a solid chunk of stoner metal done the proper way, but it’s nothing extraordinary compared to the best of genre. However, Svölk clearly stand head and shoulders above the lower-tiered bands of their ilk because NUTRT is loaded with enough riffage and energy to keep each song interesting and entertaining.
“Living by the Sword” opens the album and sets the tone for the next 50 or so minutes and Svölk just have a rockin’ good time as they continue with standouts like “Feed Your Soul,” “Painbringer,” “Bearserk” and album closer “This is Where it Ends.” The album highlight is the soulful and emotive “Fallen” though it’s structure and overall feel is eerily reminiscent to the flawless “Learn from this Mistake” from the aforementioned Down.
In all, NUTRT is a splendid listen though it’s nothing overly original by any means. Fans of this style of metal/rock should quickly find this one enjoyable but anybody on the fence when it comes to stoner metal might not go bananas over it. This scribe isn’t a stoner metal expert or devotee by any means, but when a strong album of this kind comes along, it’s definitely a nice change of pace from the typical death/grind/black metal assault of everyday life. Albums like Nights Under the Round Table do make one consider diving a bit deeper into this genre, though.