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Spoonman – The Adamant Award winner

The Adamant
by Alan Stevens at 29 May 2020, 11:50 AM

Now for something completely different… "The Adamant" is a brilliant and well crafted album with songs that have have years of love and work infused into them by Norwegian Frank sPoon Botten.  After recruiting members, the newly established band continued work on these songs, lifting them to incredible heights, far out of this world… literally. SPOONMAN refuse to conform to conventional standards, giving us songs which are not only stagnation free, but every second is saturated in thematics and meaning, blending with experimental rhythms and fantastical soundscapes. "The Adamant" is an album which does not sit inside any conventional genre… It's only real genre, is the soul of Rock 'n' Roll, which does not refer to musical genre or common troupes, but to the passion and drive of musicians who push to go beyond their comfort zones, in search of the “new sound”…

Upon reading the track names, I first notice that every single one begins with 'THE' and that each subject could be translated into a step from Joseph Campbell's 'The Hero's Journey' which isn't too far of a stretch considering Frank and the others have spent a long time on these songs and lyrics, each with multiple story-lines, amazing poetry, and controlled musical chaos. The Album opens with “The fire of '92” and this is our first introduction to the erratic composition which defines their work; it's got rough edges, like a garage band with a slow and steady Sludge/Doom pulse, but the bass drones under wild and funky guitar riffs. At first everything appears pretty straightforward and simple, until it slaps you in the face, the music misdirects you as it takes turn after turn, evolving on it's feet, until every little melody, chords and rhythm have morphed, going into a breakdown similar to 90's SYSTEM OF A DOWN. Nothing on this track, or any of the others on this album is straightforward, instead they twist and turn like an old English country road. “The Lost Cowboy” features some nice anti-social lyrics, with an early 00's Metal and Punk styling of chords and tones and I really like the chorus vocals against the counter rhythm of the music.

The Magpie” starts off great creating confidence in the listener, thinking you know where you are, but as the song progresses, you realise they're constantly playing with your expectations, when you think the song is going to burst with bombastic flare, they turn left and give you a laid back melody instead. There are some great leads and fun drum fills here, you get the impression that they really enjoy teasing your interpretation of time as they dance around one another on this great heavy and intricate track. In “The White Farewell”, the band show they are not afraid of pauses or empty spaces, giving the music space to breath and allowing every member to have their moment, letting each voice be heard. “The Jolly Melancholy” winds up before punching like a turtle, it's slow demeanour is misleading as the right hook sends you back. The riffs are heavy and thick, layered in on one another. Small moments that feel familiar are engulfed in a torrent of musical chaos, like going back to your old house, your recognize the structure, but everything inside is not how you remember. “The Chicago Interrogation”, is like a mix of ALICE COOPER and MOTLEY CRÜE, exploring the old school rock 'n' roll, bouncing back and for the between two rather hasty rhythms. Kvande and Landsem are just going nuts in this track, their child like energy is infectious, expand with their skills and techniques of their instruments leaves some breathe taking moments of musicianship.

I could go in depth about each track, and maybe that is something for a another day on a different medium. The last track on the album, “The Adamant” is a fantastic track and you can really hear the SOAD influence inside it's crazy and chaotic soundscape, a fitting end for an album that refuses to sit still for one devil-damned second. It's as if someone let a group of musical child protégés into a studio, and the only snacks where ice-cream and sugar sweets. But before I wrap up this section, I've kept my favourite song to mention last. “The Bones &The Ugly Duckling” is just brilliant, and reminds me heavily of GODSMACK and a friends band of a similar vein named BLOODSHOT. The second you load up this track, it blows you away, their playing ascending to god-level in every respect, and there are some incredible melodic parts which sound like what METALLICA were reaching for with each subsequent “Unforgiven”.

SPOONMAN do a very good job of keeping your mind entertained as you chase this band around the soundscape, as if you're being pulled through an auditorial interpretation of a psychedelic trip, that keeps spinning on vague understanding, morphing shapes into meanings and colours into understanding, never staying where you think they should be – the 'anti-anti-band' who refuse expectations at the door, and never settle for 'good enough'. Every moment of this album has been contemplated a million times and refined into this diamond of an album. This album gains my seal of approval and maybe mandatory listening… but if only because, as I mentioned in my intro, they play from the soul of rock 'n' roll, not playing into a genre. If anyone of the modern music era was an embodiment of that soul, was Lemmy Kilmister, who dismissed any claim that they played rock or metal music, refusing to be put into a pigeon hole, he'd retort, “We are MOTORHEAD, and we play Rock and Fucking Roll”. That's what they guys play, not rock, not metal, not jazz, not some combination, they play from their heart, their soul, they play ROCK AND FUCKING ROLL with it's sharp teeth and scars for the world to see, wearing their failures and wounds as badges of honour and progress, not commercial flops…

No Cover ups
No bullshit
Just Music from the heart.

Songwriting: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The fire of '92
2. The Lost Cowboy
3. The Magpie
4. The White Farewell
5. The Jolly Melancholy
6. The Chicago Interrogation
7. The Black Abyss
8. The Stonecrusher
9. The Bones &The Ugly Duckling
10. The Crawling Army
11. The Adamant
Frank sPoon Botten – Vocals, Guitar
Ola Langli – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Torbjørn Kvande – Bass, Vocals
Jon Landsem - Drums
Record Label: Dream Farm Records


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Edited 28 May 2023

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