Vokonis – Grasping Time

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: The Sign Records
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://freighttrain.se/en/the-sign-record/vokonis/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialVokonis/

Band Line-up:

Simon Ohlsson – Guitars, vocals
Jonte Johansson – Bass, vocals
Peter Ottoson – Drums

Tracklisting:

1.) AntlerQueen
2.) Sunless Hymnal
3.) I Hear the Siren
4.) Exiled
5.) Ashes
6.) Embers
7.) Grasping Time
8.) Fading Lights

Review:

Guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson says Vokonis wanted their third full-length release, Grasping Time, to be “their own Crack the Skye”. While it maybe doesn’t quite ascend to the lofty heights of that progressive metal juggernaut, that ambition does come across loud and clear in the music, and they certainly seem well on their way.

The Mastodon comparison feels particularly apt: right from the opening notes, Grasping Time asserts itself with a similar style of progressive sludge/stoner metal. It’s dominated by swirling, meandering riffs and frenetic drum work, with the pace shifting regularly. The tracks will routinely settle into a solid stoner groove, but throw in bursts of speed among the head-nodding, bong-toting prog. The vocals are a distant roar, and the bass continually rumbles away under the surface, at times the tremors of an earthquake, at others the guiding force on a smoother musical adventure. It all leaves impressions of not just the mighty Mastodon, but also Baroness and Elder, especially Elder’s latest, Reflections of a Floating World (which is no bad thing considering how stupendous that particular offering was).

Specifics don’t come easily when discussing Grasping Time, as one track often leads directly into another. It creates the natural flow of an album that deserves to be experienced in one sitting. This very organic feel to the music, along with those echoing vocals and the gorgeous cover lend the whole thing a strong atmosphere of nature. It’s a musical journey, and one framed by deep woodlands and soaring mountains.

At times the music can be gentle and smooth, inviting the listener to lie back and immerse themselves in it, to let it wash over them like a wave (see “Sunless Hymnal”). But something big and booming is never far off, ready to liven things up and shift gears into the next passage. It’s a testament to their sound that Vokonis can throw out eight, nine, ten minute tracks without having them feel drawn out of unpleasantly repetitive. The fuzzy stoner doom and wandering prog soundscapes are engaging even at that length.

Grasping Time is not an album for those seeking something especially simple and catchy (there are such parts, but they’re used as punctuation rather than a focus). It’s for those lovers of heavy, daydreaming music like the aforementioned Crack the Skye, Reflections of a Floating World, or any of Baroness’ spectrum of albums, those looking to sink into a weighty yet immersive journey.

Review by:

Kieron Hayes

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