Swedish rockers, Svartanatt, may be rooted in 60s and 70s rock influences but their third album is still fresh and new whilst keeping those formative influences.
Called Last Days Of Earth, it shows growing maturity and development from the very good self-titled debut and the even better 2018 album, Starry Eagle Eyes. If you’re new to the band, a hint to the sound is in the name which, if the internet is correct, means ‘Black Night’ and yes, there are Purple tints, but there’s also a bit of Lizzy, hints of NWOBHM and the odd prog incursion that make for an original and heady mix.
Take the opener, ‘Demons In The Night’ for example, summed up as Cream-y! Sounding 60s yes, but timeless too, with great rhythms in both music and melodies and excellent solos. True class shows through on ‘The Crows,’ as the varied textures build in a semi-prog fashion but coalesce into a song that just begs to be heard live. ‘Keep On Movin’ may start like freeform jazz, but soon settles into a southern-tinged slice of Blackfoot-y rock. ‘Children Of The Sun’ hints at ‘The House of the Rising’ before sliding into a laid-back psyche rock track of quality.
My favourites have to be, firstly the promised Purple-tinted ‘I’m Ready’… Hammond backs the solid, staccato riffing and after a Shades-era duel, there’s a great guitar solo. Secondly, the closing track ‘Where I Belong’ with its cinematic swirling on top of a blues rock base with some serious Morricone touches (including a trumpet) that just work, even over the more frenetic sections.
This is a quality band that deserves more recognition as they wipe the floor with more successful bands who attempt to mine a similar seam. The secret is that Svartarnatt mines it seamlessly, cleverly and with total originality.
Last Days Of Earth is out on 3rd November 2023.