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Dozer – Drifting in the Endless Void Award winner

Drifting in the Endless Void
by Gary Hernandez at 15 May 2023, 5:41 PM

Word on the street is that European Stoner Metal is in a second wave (or at least a deeper inflection of the first wave). Though not as sharply demarcated as say first and second waves of Black Metal, this surge is perhaps more palatable by the masses. Certainly, the virtues of Stoner align more easily to the sensibilities of 70’s rockers and Doom enthusiasts. I mean, it’s a rare person who can’t appreciate a groovy psych riff or a bluesy drum break. Giving momentum to this surge is the return of the mighty DOZER who, on April 21, 2023, returned from their wanderings as GREENLEAF and dropped “Drifting in the Endless Void” on Blues Funeral Records. I won’t say it was worth the wait—because ten years—but damn this is a great album!

Drifting in the Endless Void” comprises seven tracks and has a run time of just under 43 minutes. It slices nicely into vinyl halves, with the first side leaning into irresistibly compelling riffs and the second side leaning into a grittier assault. I will say here that the one thing I don’t get about “Drifting in the Endless Void” is the title. This album is anything but drifting.

The album launches with “Mutation/Transformation,” a track that leads with a groove nastier than that one dream you had that we don’t need to talk about. And just when you think you haven’t tasted mana so sweet, Sebastian Olsson (drums) strolls in with a swagger that would make Thor blush. Next rolls in Johan Rockner (bass) whose last name couldn’t be more suitable and by the 40 second mark the album is breaking atmosphere and puncturing cosmic space.

By the second track, “Ex-Human, Now Beast,” you get the sense that something has changed with DOZER. That difference could be a desire to make a statement after ten years; a resurgence of energy after the plague years; a return to the basics; or a slight but significant shift in lineup. Or all of the above. I do have to say that after rotating through three drummers that seat had to be a little hot. I’ll also say that drummer #4, Sebastian Olsson, douses that seat with gasoline and lights it up like an offering to Surtr.

So that was a cool surprise, but more are in store. Track three, “Dust for Blood” sees Fredrik Nordin exploring a whole new vocal range. Okay, maybe he has done it before on previous albums, but it was new to me. And there are some stripped down sections of this track where we get to experience Nordin up front, raw, and personal. A total treat.

The final track of side one, “Andromeda,” is one of those tracks that starts off easy, builds momentum, then pivots from crushing to free floating. A cold cosmic vibe, this one, coupled with a mean, mean solo. Nordin again switches up his delivery with fantastic effect. There are also some world sundering riffs happening with this one.

Side two kicks off with “No Quarter Expected, No Quarter Given.” With a title like that you expect ZEPPELIN-level epic and that’s what’s delivered, but a whole lot heavier. Penultimate track, “Run, Mortals, Run!” is as fast as it is brutal and “Missing 13” is another cosmic trip, lulling the listener in with a five-minute psych/blues trip before crashing down with a crescendo of hammer blows for the last three minutes. Perfect closing track.

We all know there’s a lot of incredible music that rolls out of Sweden. So we can’t act surprised then when a band like DOZER emerges and reemerges, invents and reinvents. Maybe it’s the herring or the brännvin or some lingering blessing of the Norse gods. Whatever it is, keep it rolling. DOZER, “Drifting in the Endless Void,” back with conviction.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Mutation/Transformation
2. Ex-Human, Now Beast
3. Dust for Blood
4. Andromeda
5. No Quarter Expected, No Quarter Given
6. Run, Mortals, Run!
7. Missing 13
Johan Rockner – Bass
Tommi Holappa – Guitars
Fredrik Nordin – Guitars, vocals
Sebastian Olsson – Drums
Record Label: Blues Funeral Recordings


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