Arise, New Keepers
When contemplating the metal scene in Sweden, one fact becomes clear: death metal dominates. It comes as quite a shock, then, upon listening to New Keepers Of The Water Towers’ first full-length, The Calydonian Hunt. The particular brand of neo-stoner riffage that New Keepers traffic in is more closely associated with the American Southeast and bands like Mastodon and The Sword. What’s more, they do it just as well, injecting their own take on classic epics along the way.
The band sets the stage well with “Abyssal Lord,” an ode to the demon Leviathan showcasing guitarists Rasmus and Victor’s dual shouts, as well as the band’s sludge-laden grooves. The title track follows close behind, a retelling of the Greek myth layered over Pentagram-styled guitar work and peaceful interludes. “Arise, The Serpent” features a devastating post-metal breakdown in the middle, anchored by the grinding sounds of bassist Robin, while “Return Of Ziz” allows drummer Thor (who also contributes “vital shouts”) to shine as the vocalists do their finest Mastodon impression. Bringing the album to an arguably relaxed close is “The Sword In The Stone,” the Arthurian epic related through simple, fuzzy rhythms and agile guitar harmonies.
Being formed in 2006, New Keepers have clearly been influenced by the Georgia metal scene and bands like Mastodon, Baroness, and Kylesa. The production choices here reflect that influence, with multiple layers of guitars resting on “felt-not-heard” bass, and pummeling drums complete with bright, washy cymbals. The vocals, too, are delivered as a throaty bellow, even when singing melodies. Put simply, everything sounds fantastic.
The Calydonian Hunt will pleasantly surprise metal fans that think Sweden is only about meatballs and melodic death metal, and fans of the Georgia scene will find exactly what they’re looking for. Sure, maybe it’s a little derivative, but it still rocks hard. Keep an eye on the Keepers; it sounds like they’re on the precipice of finding their sound.