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Black Book Lodge - Tundra Award winner

Black Book Lodge
by Kostas Kiriakis at 25 June 2014, 10:52 AM

Tundra. A geographical and climatic area where tree growth is hindered by low temperatures, permafrosted subsoil and short growing seasons. “Tûndra”. Debut album for  Compenhagen-based  heavy rock quartet BLACK BOOK LODGE. Already having met local critical acclaim, “Tûndra” is set for international release next tmonth (28th of July to be exact) through Mighty Music.

But enough with intros. So what of the music itself? Marked as a stoner/doom band by the press, are already compared to huge acts, such as KYUSS, QOTSA, and MASTODON. Sometimes we need examples to understand what we are about to listen. While these comparissons might hold some shreds of truth, the whole endeavor is just pointless. Because BLACK BOOK LODGE are a band of their own.  While sharing the similar alienation to stoner/doom and gothic Americana, its evident that these guys are inspired by frosted plains and unrelentless arctic sun, as much as their over-the-Atlantic peers are influnced by scorching deserts, rolling grassballs, and humid swamps.

From the opener “Battering Ram” you know that you're in for a treat. A trippy intro with crooning vocals, leading to an inevitable heavy slow-paced riff sets the tone for what to expect from BLACK BOOK LODGE. Then Black Sheep/Prodigal Sons” takes the whole thing even higher.

A side note, if you please. Here you can find exactly why these guys are unique. Extremely clever songwriting with multiple melodic hooks constantly intertwining, from the vocals and the bass line to the lead guitar, without having to resort to mind-blowing riffing, grips the listener with no chance of ignoring them. Mark my words, if this song was written by any of those aforementioned bands it would be an instant hit, earning countless hours of airplay.

“Pendulum” and “Lupus” follow, with the mandatory heaviness to make the whole experience even more worthwhile. Remeber the whole frost thing I described earlier? If “Thalassa” (sea in greek) won't evoke those images for you, I really don't know what could do the trick. I for one was lost inside a frost covered fjord, courtesy of BLACK BOOK LODGE. If you thought that its mostly about trippy melody guess again. “The Call” is here, with the heaviest riff so far, and the mood to match it. “Cripplegate” moves in more primeval paths, like a shamanistic ritual. The eponymous “Tûndra” follows in more trippy and melodic soundscapes, leading to the closer “Empire”, an equally trippy, but darker, tune, reminding me the everlasting night of the arctics.

To wrap it all up, “Tûndra” is an amazing debut by any standards. Excellent songwriting, evocative soundscapes, great performance by the whole band to match, what more could you ask for?

4 Star Rating

1. Battering Ram
2. Black Sheep / Prodigal Sons
3. Pendulum
4. Lupus
5. Thalassa
6. The Call
7. Cripplegate
8. Tûndra
9. Empire
Ronny Jønsson – Vocals, Guitar
Trygve Borelli – Bass
Jakob Gundel – Drums
Jonas Budtz Møller – Guitar
Record Label: Mighty Music


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Edited 08 June 2023

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