Review: Kaross – Two

“….LISTEN TO KAROSS-YOUR CROTCH WILL THANK YOU” So reads the last line from the bands bio on there homepage. Hmm, I thought, never had my crotch thank me for listening to music before, so this has got to be good!!! From the opening, heavy, grinding, slow grooves to the last, I was glad I had the chance to hear this album and be aware of this bands existence. Whether or not my crotch thanked me, frankly, is just more information than I am willing to share at this point but rest assured I was smiling pretty much the whole time.

‘Two’ is in fact a re-release from 2013, which seems to have been badly managed at the time, resulting in it not getting the notice it deserved. The band have now got back the rights to the songs and are giving the album another chance with the public. The bands bio is one of the most extensive I have seen of late and gives a full history of their ups and downs as well as the many changes in lineup that have led us from 2002 to the present day. There is no getting away from these guys honesty and faithful belief in the cause, this really comes across in their music. The slow grinding grooves have a way of battering a path into your brain, causing involuntary head and foot movements. Magnus Knutas vocals, Kalle Sjöstrand guitar, Patrik Olsson bass and Mojje Andersson drums, make up this unit called Kaross and deliver track after track of power and emotion.

From opening track ‘Burn Witch Burn’ to upcoming single ‘Borderline’ to the closing number ‘Dirty Beer’, there is not much in the way of faltering from their chosen path. Powerful guitars, rock solid bass and drums and strong, whiskey soaked vocals, these guys pound out the riffs and grooves that you cannot help but tap a foot or nod a head to. ‘Borderline’ is the first single to have been released from the album and I can see why, it shows exactly what Kaross are about, monster riffs, powerful vocals and a solid rhythm section. The lead guitar work is understated but perfect for the job, these guys really know how to play their brand of heavy rock.

‘All Cream is Gone’ is a stand out track for me. The pace picks up and the mood lightens a little but we lose none of the heavy determination of before. ‘I Call the Shots’ brings to the fore how good these guys are at writing riffs that hang together, creating mood and soundscape that back up the vocals perfectly. Patrik and Mojje on bass and drums do an amazing job of both, underpinning and complementing the guitar riffs with some excellent musical dexterity and ability.

The intro to ‘Hyde’ is a perfect example of the soundscapes I am talking about, the first verse has an atmospheric quality that is hypnotising. The track builds through various twists and turns, in places reminding me of Aerosmith then Black Sabbath as I am led on this bi-polar journey that climaxes in riff heaven. Aha!, could that be the ‘crotch thanking’ moment the guys were talking about? ‘Fawn’, another stand out, gives a slighlty different style, more melodic in some ways, not so riff driven but just as powerful. Hard to put my finger on it, just different from the other tracks.

‘Dirty Beer’, what a track title! I had to give this one a mention but not only for the title. We are led out of this album with a final, grinding aural assault. The pace drops to the slowest of all so far but not the power and honesty of delivery. I keep coming back to that word, honesty, and for no small reason. When I hear Kaross, I believe them! They play it hard and true with passion and power.

I feel that this album is going to appeal to a wide cross section of rock fans. Kaross mention as influences ‘Fu Manchu’, ‘Eagles of Death Metal’, ‘Monster Magnet’ and ‘Queens of the Stone Age’, all of whom and more, I can hear in the music of Kaross. They have power, plus melody, plus riffs and passion in spades. I will have an eye open for any gigs near me!

Review: Simon Larkin


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