Review Summary: Just another great stoner record meant to be played loud
Spelljammer is a Swedish collective playing heavy music which reliably falls under the stoner/psychedelic rock and metal umbrella. The band’s first LP, 2015’s Ancient of Days, was a strong slab of slow and heavy stoner metal, with tinges of atmosphere and proggy textures but nothing drastically deviating away from genre conventions. The newly released Abyssal Trip is the band’s second full-length effort.
Abyssal Trip doesn’t represent a major departure, either from the band’s previous album or from the generic stylings you might expect from a release of this vein. Monstrously heavy riffs, mostly slow tempos, and sluggish song lengths immediately greet the listener. The atmospheric opener "Bellwether" is a highlight, and gives ample illustration of what to expect from the rest of the album. Second track “Lake” begins with an uncharacteristically fast (and relatively brutal) section reminiscent of some of High On Fire’s more up-tempo moments, although it eventually settles into a more ponderous groove. A few spoken word intros provide a bit of diversity, as does the beautiful instrumental interlude “Peregrine”. Finally, closer “Silent Rift” may be the best track here, a well-crafted ten minute song which wraps up everything this album is about in a satisfying manner. The whole album presents some strong riffs, and a number of sweet guitar solos which should satisfy devotees of this style. Niklas Olsson’s gruff vocals are another high point, often functioning largely as another instrument, floating atop a wall of guitar sound.
Spelljammer haven’t crafted a masterpiece here, but this is a great release which will likely appeal to anyone who enjoys music in the stoner rock/metal/heavy psych spectrum. Abyssal Trip doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s groovy and heavy as lead, and sometimes that’s enough.