~Doomed & Stoned Debuts~ Review by Billy Goate
Album Art by Francesco Bauso
Leaving the world
For salvation yonder
Quest for eternity
To suns beyond
Gazing upon our past
Out into forever
To a future obscured
What glory awaits?
To begin another week of awesome original content at Doomed & Stoned, we’re getting you better acquainted with the Swedish juggernaut 10,000 YEARS.
Last summer, the band dropped their eponymous debut to welcome ears and in just a few short weeks 10,000 Years come roaring back with a follow-up. Y’all know I’m a sucker for a good concept album. The eight-track full-length record ‘II’ (2021) picks up the trail of the Albatross research vessel, which has been galavanting ‘cross the nether reaches of the galaxy on a potent rocket fuel made of sludgy stoner rock and doom metal.
If that sounds epic, wait’ll you get a load of what’s next for our interstellar crew. It helps if you picture the following text as a Star Wars-style screen crawl, slowly working its way up the page against the backdrop of a starry night.
After narrowly escaping the confines of the strange planet and its surrounding dimension, the Albatross and its crew finally return home to Earth. The re-entry is rough and the ship crashlands in a forest. The earth that greets them is vastly different from the one that they left.
When the ship travelled back to earth through the wormhole, it created a rift in the space-time continuum which propelled them far into the future, as well as allowing the Green King and other ancient gods from the other dimension to cross over to our dimension. They have since taken control of not only the earth, but the entire solar system.
After various harrowing experiences and encounters, the truth finally dawns on the surviving members of the crew. They are indeed back on earth, but ten thousand years in the future from when they started their journey. And to make matters worse, they find evidence that the Green King has been known and worshipped by secret cults and societies on earth for millenia, since before humankind even existed.
The surviving members of the crew come to the conclusion that the only way to set things right again is to repair the Albatross and take it back through the rift again in order to close it.
Now that’s a saga I’m ready to get invested in. George Lucas, eat your heart out!
The record revs to a start with “Descent,” a track that can best be described as terrific panic. It had me thinking of KOOK’s “Escape Velocity” from their recent second album, though that’s an eight-and-a-half minute slow burn and this is a quick twenty-six second fall from the sky. I wish this little notion had a chance to develop into something longer, but regardless what a thrilling way to open an album!
With rapt attention, I’m waiting to hear what comes next. The ship seems to have crash landed deep inside a “Gargantuan Forest.” As an aside, it would be a blast to smoke a bowl o’ something (anything, really) with Erik Palm (guitar), Alex Risberg (bass, vox), and Espen Karlsen (drums) just to gab it up a bit about sci-fi lit and horror flicks. I mean, check out the trove of B-movie greats referenced in their preface to the new single (which Doomed & Stoned is debuting today):
In this ABSURD (1981) video, 10,000 Years enter a FOREST OF FEAR (1980) as they access THE BEYOND (1981) and enter a BLOODBATH (1971) with THE BOOGEY MAN (1980), otherwise known as the Espbeast. The Espbeast stalks and haunts the bodies and minds of the characters in this C-grade homage to the horror movies of yesteryear.
The characters FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE (1976) through insane NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN (1981). If they survive the AXE (1974) they may still end up in an INFERNO (1980) and risk being EATEN ALIVE (1976). All the same risks face the viewer, so don’t watch with the lights out, don’t watch by yourself and DON’T GO IN THE WOODS ALONE (1981). Because after all, isn’t there an Espbeast in all of us?
10,000 Years have picked the ideal setting for the music video. The forests of Sweden stand tall and dark, the ground packed with snow. Screw you, Blair Witch Project – this is where I want the next found footage flick filmed!
The song opens with a mysterious theme on solitary electric strings, surrounded by hazy reverberation. Drums and bass accent the motif as it’s repeated several times over. Dazed by their graceless fall to earth, the crew wander about, checking one another for injuries, seeing if the faithful Albatross has even hope of another journey. As the shock begins to wear off, their hopeless plight reveals itself.
Screaming from the sky
Blasting through the atmosphere
Come to rest
On the forest floor
What fresh new hell is this?
Surrounded by swamps
A strange bleeding from the earth
A dense horror taking root
Same old sun
Unfamiliar rays shine down
Is there something lurking about in the Gargantuan Forest? I’m sure no one wants to wait until nightfall to find out! The so-called “Espbeast” (which the band may actually have been first to name) is more than likely some strange amalgamation of guitar and creature, ripping through foes like a berserker of sound with scraps of High on Fire’s “10,000 Years” echoing perversely through the treetops as it stalks and ultimately slays you. Nobody wants to be around when the Espbeast is on the prowl.
Now see, I’m letting my imagination get carried away! Then again, maybe that’s what the band had planned all along – for listeners to join in the fantastic adventures of these cosmonauts, to see through their eyes and feel through their body as they touch foot to strange soil. What will our adventurers find next?
The answer comes all too soon: “Spinosaurus!” This gruff beast charges angrily through the woods knocking things about, displacing rocks, snapping branches, royally pissed and ready to make somebody pay for the noise that snatched him away from a damned good nap. The repeated note riff, with its odd strumming pattern, does a nifty job of representing the crude movements of the Spinosaurus as it lumbers about the forest. Eric is a virtuosic mess of frantic tremeloes and wiry noodling against Espen’s stampeding drums, as Alex narrates the scene with a terrifying shout:
Is this our earth?
No time to dwell
Dorsal sail cutting air
Cretaceous ghost made flesh
Dead end eyes
No place to hide
Teeth into flesh!
What the crew is experiencing on their homeworld thus far seems foreign, almost ancient. Through some curse of Einstenian logic have we zipped through a wormhole only to return to the distant past? “The Mooseriders” are about to challenge our assumptions about what’s possible on this Rock.
Thundering hooves crack the sky
Dark robed wizards appear in the light
Travellers in ether descending
Protectors of the realm
These are the oath-bound eternals – interdimensional templars, if you will – who have arrived at this precise moment in time to take on the Green King. Complex rhythmic drumming with precisely stricken odd beats, is accompanied by a hyperactive bass and progressive metal riffmaking. Together, the band conjures the trot and hustle of the approaching entourage. A wilding guitar heralds a message from the great protectors:
The hour draws near
The endgame is nigh
Even death may die
The mood now turns stately. A brave theme is introduced and developed with dashing prowess. This track would fit perfectly into a playlist with Mastodon, Ape Cave, and Zirakzigil. I found Alex’s vocal approach especially appropriate for the frantic depiction of “antlers clashing with steel” in this battle to the finish. “Even death…may…DIE!”
“Angel Eyes” greet us on the B-side, and it’s not a cover of the Jerry Cantrell song (though that would have been unexpectedly awesome). No, the hard-charging mood and raspy vocals are pointing to something far more apocalyptic.
Hooves of burning coal
Let loose upon the world
Return of the warlord
Eternal fire scorches the earth
Order through chaos
At times Alex seems exasperated, practically out of breath, as he gives these dire words his all. It’s a style the 10,000 Years frontman owns as well as his counterpart, Simon Ohlsson of Vokonis, who has a comparable vocal attack. A bass-fortified guitar establishes a second theme that adds a Wagnarian touch of high drama, and this ushers in the song’s curtain fall.
If 10,000 Years is to be compared with High On Fire at all, the rumbling riffstorm “March Of The Ancient Queen” surely merits it (to say nothing of their mutual love of alternative histories).
Her royal blood
Once ruled these lands
Buried by time
Dynasty of dust
Rise from the sands
Rise from the dead
The Green King’s servant
That last lyric is uttered with the most blood-curdling all-caps conviction that I was immediately drawn into its sentiment, miming “Maaaaarrrrrch!” with my ugliest war face on every time it came up in the song. The NWOBHM-style finish is so deftly executed that it comes across as orchestral. 10,000 Years paint with big, bold strokes here.
“Prehuman Walls” is a welcome shift down, with its chugging “Bury Me In Smoke” tempo. You sludge fiends will find moments of Zen here, with riffs that bend and twist and saw ‘neath the summer sun. The crew have chanced upon a temple of sorts, though not one made with human hands. Nothing seems to make sense here at all. It’s like Area X from the film Annihilation (2017), where everything is a contortion of reality. Then the “truth settles in.” This alien monstrosity, we find, bears the mark of the sinister Green King. We thought we’d escaped him, only to find that he both followed us and was here millenia before.
Feed the Green King
Eyes pried open
Sanity stripped away
At last, we reach the final track in our journey: “Dark Side Of The Earth”. So many revelations have been made in this second chapter, so many loose ends that need to be tied off. Naturally, a third chapter must be written. “We must go back, set it right,” deliberates an exasperated Albatross crew. “We must go back, whence we came.”
Dimension walls broken down
The fabric ripped and torn apart
Thread the needle once again
A journey of ten thousand years
We must go back, set it right
We must go back, through the tears
Insanity the only way
The dark side of the earth
Following these words, the song develops instrumentally and the mood gets quite emotional. I found myself drawing parallels between this “bastard version of earth” and our own, wondering if we ever can go back and make it right. For us, perhaps it should be about moving forward, for there is no golden age or better time to which we can return. We make this world a heaven or hell tomorrow by the choices made today.
The album was recorded by Tomas Skogsberg at Studio Sunlight. Totally diggin the awesomely swamp landscape that Francesco Bauso of Negative Crypt Artwork created. It reminds the five-year old me of Luke’s sopping wet landing on Dagobah, though guitarist Alex Risberg says the band’s more inspired by Planet of the Apes than by Star Wars.
The album will be released on June 25th as a special vinyl “Green King Edition” by Interstellar Smoke Records pre-order here), a cassette tape “Forest Edition” from Ogo Rekords (pre-order here) and “Swamp Edition” from Olde Magick Records pre-order here), with the digital and compact disc formats handled by Death Valley Records (pre-order here).
10,0000 Years have in II their most accomplished album to date, with powerful moments that will stay with you long after the record’s stopped spinning. Fans of High On Fire, Black Tusk, and The Sword listen up! You might just discover your next favorite band.
Having previously played together in the original lineup of Swedish underground heavyweights Pike, Erik Palm (Guitars) and Alex Risberg (Bass/vocals) found their way back to each other, musically, in early 2020. The creative fire reignited and stoked to a burning inferno and through a mutual love of heavy riffs and thundering stoner rock, doom, and sludge metal, 10,000 Years was born. Finding a drummer would prove to be an easy task and with Espen Karlsen the final piece lay firmly in place. The groove they fell into during the first rehearsal hasn’t stopped rumbling since.
After spending the first-half of 2020 writing and rehearsing, 10,000 Years recorded their self-titled debut EP during one weekend in June in the legendary Studio Sunlight with equally legendary producer Tomas Skogsberg. The self-titled EP was released on July 10th and immediately struck a chord with the heavy underground worldwide, and 10,000 Years garnered rave reviews and accolades.
10,000 Years’ musical and lyrical world revolves around the tale of the terran class III exploration vessel Albatross and its mission to explore the Milky Way and nearby galaxies in search for a possible new home for humanity. The EP tells the tale of its first foray into space and what happens when the crew accidentally travel through a wormhole and end up in an adjacent dimension populated by ancient gods and giant beings, ruled by the Green King. The EP ends with “From Suns Beyond,” where the crew make it off from the strange planet, back out into space in search of a way back home. The new album picks up the story as the Albatross blasts through the atmosphere of a seemingly unknown planet and crashlands headfirst into strange new adventures.
Now, less than a year after their first release, 10,000 Years are back with their first full-length effort, aptly titled ‘II’ (2021). Picking up right where the EP left off, II continues the story of the ill-fated Albatross mission and its exploration of time and space through a skull-crushing mixture of stoner rock, doom, and sludge metal. The album will no doubt continue to build on 10,000 Years’ already golden reputation and prove to be an even bigger hit with the heavy masses.
Published at Mon, 24 May 2021 21:52:09 +0000