Fredrik Nordin: Vocals and Guitar
Tommi Holappa: Lead guitar
Johan Rockner: Bass
Olle Mårthans: Drums
Produced by Tommi Holappa and Fredrik Nordin.
Co-produced by Karl Daniel Liden .
Engineered By Karl Daniel Liden Recorded at Studios 301,Stockholm and Rockhuset Studios, Borlange. Mixed by Karl Daniel Liden at Tri-Lamb Studios,Stockholm.
Mastered by John Golden at Golden Mastering,Ventura,CA.
Guest vocals on Empire's End and Two coins for eyes by Neil Fallon.
Hammond Organ on Bound For Greatness by Jocke Aslund.
Artwork and Design by Nathan Lavertue.
Band photo by Erik Backwall and Per Jonsson.
Summary: Truly colossal and grand in its sonic attack and delivery, this is one of the most impressive stoner metal albums of the last decade.
Hailing from Sweden Dozer is regarded as one of the most acclaimed acts in the underground stoner metal scene. The genre is known for its inclination towards fuzzed-out, low-tuned guitar sound as well as heavy, yet groovy rhythm section, both convincingly patented in the early 1990s by such bands as Kyuss and Sleep. This is the style from which Dozer has grown. While being generally enjoyable, their first two albums "In The Tail Of A Comet" (2000) and "Madre De Dios" (2001) were based on the standard stoner rock patterns and found the band lacking in their own identity. Released in 2003, "Call It Conspiracy" showcased the band in search of their own style being a straight-up hard rock record that brought their first hit song entitled "Rising." Afterwards, things only got better for Dozer as the band crafted their own signature stoner sound with "Through The Eyes Of Heathens" (2005), widely regarded as the band's best release incorporating catchy melodies into the galloping guitar oozing hooks. With their latest release "Beyond Colossal" they go even further as far as exploring new teritory and experimenting are concerned. In consequence, the album is way more layered than your typical release in this derivative genre.
The title couldn't be more fitting as the band opts for epic sound by introducing strong doom metal along with progressive influences into their music. While the opener "The Flood" presents a more traditional Dozer with fast Black Sabath-influenced riffing and a hint of psychedelia thrown in, the second track "Exoskeleton, Part II" is way more complex relying on a haunting chorus and excellent tempo changes. This new approach is perfected in "Two Coins For Eyes", a mournful anthem that transforms into a mindblowing hurricane of sound in its high-octane bridge. The progressive aspect not only permeats in the longest tracks on the album though. As regards psychedelic touches, "The Ventriloquist" starts slowly with bass chugging and distorted vocals that build to a massive climax benefiting from a heavy juxtaposition between strong melodic singing and heavy riffing. The doom metal of "The Throne" featuring a heavily distorted vocal melody follows suit.
The progress is not only evident in way more diverse song structures, but also in the entire band's growth as musicians. Tommi Hollapa's guitarwork ranges from ultra-fast heavy riffing (Empire's End, Message Through The Horses) to clean, bluesy desert rock soloing (Grand Inquisitor, Fire For Crows). The bass played by Johan Rockner is pleasently distorted, yet still audible and distinguishable from the crashing guitars, whereas drummer Olle Marthans delivers an intense performance filled with monstrous fills and rolls. The pitch-perfect production oscillates between a classic heavy rock sound from 1970s and modern resourcefulness. Fredric Nordin's singing gets more and more impressive with every record. His vocal delivery is never anything less than emotive and moving. He even retains the powerful screaming out of Dozer's previous effort. His considerable skills are arguably the most apparent in "Grand Inquisitor" in which clean singing in verses is contrasted with roaring in the chorus to an amazing effect.
Unlike the band's previous releases "Beyond Colossal" can be characterized by its dense, gloomy atmosphere supported by equally dark lyrics. "Empire's End", for instance, manifests its apocalyptic undertones in a vicious chorus that goes: "I am the seasons of the North / I am the demon from below / I am the dying and the grief / I am sustained by your relief..." Neil Fallon of Clutch fame concludes the song in his very own poetic fashion: "Bright borealis - Sounding of horns / March of the wanderers - Breaking of morn / Circles of aeons - Empire's end / Time has no malice - Smoke on the wind". The message of "The Throne" feels far more enigmatic and, thus, even more frightening as Nordin screams: "Despise what you know / Despise what you need, it's cutting our throats" throughout the song. "Bound For Greatness" only seemingly brings relief when the lines: "Confusion is over and I feel in bloom / I know where to go now, inside my tomb" are sung. This Hammond Organ-enhanced ballad is an excellent closer to this mammoth of an album.
To summarize, "Beyond Colossal" is a step in the right direction for Dozer showcasing the band that fearlessly aims at expanding their style. They succeed with this album creating an impressive monstrous sound that doesn't really signify the departure from memorable riffs and catchy, yet complex melodies. Truly colossal and grand in its sonic attack and delivery, this is one of the most impressive stoner metal albums of the last decade.
- Greg Fisher
Dozer’s been around for about 14 years but I never paid any attention to them. Probably because Killdozer is one of my favorite bands I figured that just plain Dozer couldn’t match the herculean efforts of the Madison mad men. Turns out that was a dopey move on my part. Dozer’s 2008 album Beyond Colossal lives up to the title and makes them worthy to share the second syllable of Killdozer’s potent name.
Hailing from Sweden, Dozer sound like if Union Carbide Productions worshipped Pentagram and early Alice Cooper instead of The Stooges and MC5. In reading some other reviews of this album I was surprised to see the band compared to Clutch, Fu Manchu and Kyuss. There’s definite similarities with those bands, but Dozer has a much darker and original sound. Maybe their past records are more generic, but Beyond Colossal offers a refreshing change of pace from the usual 3rd rate Black Sabbath rip offs usually found in the derivative “stoner rock” genre.
Having said that, opening song “The Flood” starts off with a riff that sounds like a faster version of Sabbath’s “Hole In the Sky” but with some definite psychedelic touches. This is a song that gets the Sabbath influence right – the rhythm section really swings, the guitars are heavy without being tuned down too far and there’s an actual melody. The vocals are distorted but not buried in the mix so you can hear the words clearly.
Songs like “Exoskeleton (Part II)” and “The Ventriloquist” sound like something Pentagram could have done in the 1970’s if they had access to a good studio and Bob Ezrin. The production on this record is very impressive. There’s a wide variety of guitar tones from clean to heavy to prevent the songs from getting monotonous. Tommi Holappa plays the leads and singer Fredrik Nordin plays rhythm. The bass is nicely distorted but still discernable from the guitars. My guess would be that Johan Rockner plays a Rickenbacker bass through a guitar head into a enormous bass cabinet. Always a good sound. Drummer Olle Marthans pounds some vintage tubs with considerable fury. Lots of killer fills and rolls that make you want to air drum along on your legs.
Neil Fallon of Clutch does guest vocals on the songs “Empire’s End” and “Two Coins For Eyes.” “Empire’s End” is fast and furious but has hints of Blondie’s “Call Me” in the melody. Neil has the audacity to actually sing “smoke on the wind” during his verse! “Two Coins For Eyes” is almost 7 minutes long that starts off slow and builds the tension and heaviness as it goes along. It goes through so many peaks and valleys it sounds like 2 or 3 different songs that flow together.
If the song “Grand Inquisitor” was released by Queens of the Stone Age you would be hearing it on modern rock radio right now. Too bad that will never happen. Dozer’s a band that deserves more than to be stuck in the “stoner rock” ghetto. This is the type of record that classic rock fans who complain that today’s music sucks would love. It’s rooted in the 70’s but not stuck there.
Swedish band Dozer are still at it releasing their fifth, almost boastful, elpee, Beyond Colossal. From the early days of “Let the Shit Roll” these guys have always had that Fu Manchu, Kyuss, Nebula vibe. They embrace the fuzzed out, distorted riff and plugged it into a stack of Marshall’s – fully cranked. Gotta tell ya, the first thing to grab our attention was Neil Fallon’s (Clutch) guest spot on a couple tracks. That dude is everywhere these days. Before we touch on his highlights, it’s important to note this is easily the heaviest, slowest and darkest record the band has produced yet. There are still melody lines but not as overtly catchy as Through the Eyes of Heathens (2006). It’s like Kiss Destroyer verses Motörhead Iron First. “The Throne” is the monster here, packing on the weight and laying it down with earthshaking density - everything going into the red. “Bound for Greatness” harnesses the keyboard eeriness of the Band turning it into a stoned-out blanket of despair. The guitars clean up for the moaning “Exoskeleton (Part II)” while the drums hammer out a neck-jarring bang in “Grand Inquisitor”. Fallon steps in on the foot-tapping “Empire’s End” which borrows the hook from the Stones’ “Paint It Black” giving the tune a swift kick and gallop. The Clutch-man also duets on seven-minute “Two Coins for Eyes”, the closest thing to Soundgarden you’re gone hear this year. However, “The Flood” will be what folks will be talking about years from now. Brilliant
- Todd K Smith
One of the best and longest into the scene Stoner Rock band is back. Swedish guys from DOZER are back to bring you some new material and again: so far not one bad DOZER song was released. The new record called BEYOND COLOSSAL is a little different as the other records. After the legendary releases via MANS RUIN RECORDS, the band opened their sound a little and now this is the most surprised record from them so far. The opener THE FLOOD shows the typical DOZER trademarks and is a mighty opener. EXOSKELENTON (part II) produces the same power as MASTODON, DOZER was on tour with the mega stars and the power is like the same. The vocals are not so rough on that record and the song features a mighty chorus! This is one of the best and most emotional DOZER song so far! MESSAGE THROUGH THE HORSES and THE THRONE show that MASTODON influence too! This wall-of-sound fits well to DOZWER. EMPIRE`S END go the same way! What a vocal line, what a groove, what a great refrain! This is the best work from Fredrik so far, and he is since years one of the best singers in the genre! Some songs are very different to the old material (like THE VENTRILOQUIST, which is pure psychedelic stuff) and the typical DOZER stuff (like GRAND INQUISITOR, which is another highlight and hopefully in the Dozer live-set-list) is full of power and great melodies! FIRE FOR CROWS and TWO COINS FOR EYES feature again some progressive Metal parts, which remind me on Mastodon and are not easy head bangers (expect the mighty refrain on FIRE FOR CROWS). BOUND FOR GREATNESS close that record with an acoustic song (with some Hammond organ) and an awesome vocal melody. This DOZER record is a big surprise and I`m a lover of their old material, but this sound fresh and hopefully will make their audience bigger! They are still impressive on stage and now they are unique on CD too! Thank you for that record!
Dozer, Swedish stoner rock stalwarts, have been it at for 10 years now and show no signs of slowing down. If anything, they've evolved progressively, album after album, wandering off into territory that they can truly claim as their own. With Beyond Colossal, they’ve added album number five to their already impressive and consistent discography (not to mention the numerous collaborations with like minded rockers). This time however, they’ve promoted their old drummer to the role of producer and put a new guy behind the kit. Despite this, the band’s chemistry is still very much intact and Dozer have managed to put out a doozy.
Though many parallels can be drawn between album openers The Flood and Drawing Dead (from Heathens), Beyond Colossal shows a much more aggressive side of Dozer. Comparing in units of pure sweltering rock fury, riffs like the intro to Message Through Horses and Fire For Crows could give any High on Fire riff a run for its money. Maintaining a fine balance, you have an equal amount of songwriting that pays homage to the desert as well, resulting in raw, upbeat, power chord driven portions which have the characteristic Dozer twist to them. Grand Inquisitor, with its simple QOTSA styled melodies and memorable hooks, topped off with an absolutely crushing chorus, is an instant classic and one of my (if not THE) favourite Dozer tracks. Fredrick Nordin makes full use of his vocal chords, ranging from uncannily melodic crooning to the rough and tough ways of typical stoner rock, as and when needed, aligning himself perfectly with the fuzz. Neil Fallon from Clutch is featured on a couple of songs but his presence is hardly felt. Opting to end with the a softer track, Bound For Greatness has soulful organs playing host to solemn, whiskey soaked vocal lines, rounded up with minimal guitars. The song just goes to show that Dozer have always had much more facets to them than the one-dimensional stoner rock band.
I can only imagine what the successor to this album will sound like. Dozer have set high standards and I’ll wager that I’m not the only one with high expectations. They’ve paid great attention to detail on this album and have packed it with wonderful songwriting; songwriting that’s ballsy, unique and worthy of a ton of listens. This one is up there as far as ’08 releases are concerned.
- Kaustubh Thirumalai
Dozer Go Beyond...
Though I know I’ve said it before in this space—recently—it bears repeating just how completely wrong I was three-plus years ago when I reviewed Dozer’s Through The Eyes Of Heathens and said it sounded like what Kyuss would be if they’d stayed together. Aside from being factually incorrect, it’s just a crappy line, and it’s one that has haunted me every time I’ve listened to the album since. Not sure if you knew this, but 2005 was four years ago. Granted Through The Eyes Of Heathens came out in October that year, but the point stands.
Beyond Colossal, an album I’ve been buzzing with anticipation for since I heard it was being recorded, is the follow-up. It was released this past November. Dozer’s fifth full-length over all, its long-time-coming status is about standard for the band, who released Call It Conspiracy three years before Heathens in 2002. Business as usual.
There’s little question that when it comes to stoner rock, this Swedish outfit does it better than just about every other band on the international scene (i.e.: the world), on par with the UK’s Orange Goblin when it comes to toughness, Grand Magus for power, Clutch when it comes to pure rock fury, Queens Of The Stone Age for diversity, Spiritual Beggars for fullness of sound, and anyone you want to name for songwriting. Still, what’s most striking about Beyond Colossal is how much of a stoner record it isn’t. When was the last time you heard a stoner rock CD open up with the lines, “Die—yeah, you will have to burn/Cry—you will not be heard/And I will watch you hang below the sky?”
If Mustasch won a Swedish Hard Rock Grammis award for 2007’s Latest Version Of The Truth and beat out the likes of Candlemass, Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy and Entombed to do it, surely Dozer earns just as high an honor with Beyond Colossal, which is not only a step forward for stoner metal, but for European metal in general, belting out complex melodies while sacrificing none of the edge or bombast that has existed in the band since their In The Tail Of A Comet debut, back in 2000.
Back then, they were heavily influenced by the aforementioned Kyuss, as was much of the scene at the time—see the early work of acts like Lowrider (who only had early work, really), Acid King and Los Natas—and the individuality that would begin to show itself over time was nascent, almost dormant, waiting. Their development now come to fruition, they sound as stately as they do aggressive. Completely confident. This is what they do, so they’re doing it. They don’t sound like anyone but Dozer, even if the verses and breaks of “Grand Inquisitor” offer a steady nod to desert-hued fuzz of the highest order.
Witness the far-off cooing that opens “The Throne” or the falsetto of vocalist/guitarist Fredrik Nordin in the first part of “The Ventriloquist,” before the full sound kicks in at the 1:39 mark. It’s not that they’re doing anything structurally innovative—these are verse/chorus songs—but like the best of pop songwriters, they make the formula sound fresh and exciting. Even the straightforward “Message Through The Horses” offers individuality rarely seen in this genre, thanks in no small part to the spectacular drumming of Olle "Bull" Mårthans, who comes on board to replace Karl Daniel Lidén.
Lidén was a founding member of Dozer contemporaries Demon Cleaner (1996-2002) and recently issued Kappa Delta Phi, an album rife with guest appearances (including one from Holappa) with his new solo project, Vaka. He recorded that Kappa Delta Phi himself, and its relevance shows itself with the tones he gets out of the drums on that album as well as on Beyond Colossal, which he also helmed as producer. One need only to hear the reverbed similarities between “Empire’s End” on the latter and “I Of Everything” on the former to understand they came from the same place, and though Vaka embarks on post-metal experimentalism and Dozer is at their core very much a rock band, Beyond Colossal and Kappa Delta Phi are nonetheless born of the same family. Cousin albums, if you will. There are some genetics that can’t be escaped.
In mentioning drums, it should be noted that they start the album on “The Flood” and provide both solid measure and instrumental flair throughout. From the traditional near-waltz of “Exoskeleton (Part II),” which appears here shortened from the original version that showed up on last year’s split with Brain Police, next to the punkish thumping that leads into “Empire’s End,” Mårthans proves himself to be not only a capable replacement, but one of a rare breed of percussionists whose personality shows through in his playing. Lidén’s production doesn’t hurt.
Perhaps as a sign of ambition or even just a, “Hey, we’re here, how about someone finally notices us please?” there are two guest appearances from Clutch’s Neil Fallon, who contributes vocals to “Empire’s End” and “Two Coins For Eyes,” which as the ninth and longest of the 10 total tracks serves as the apex of Beyond Colossal, starting with a creeping guitar line and launching into one of the record’s most memorable riffs. The song’s placement was no accident, and when it kicks in, it feels like a reward for listening to the album and taking it in for what it is, rather than parsing it and splitting it up track by track as is done so often in our single-obsessed culture of limited attention span.
Fallon’s work comes across as hardly essential to the songs, but welcome enough. Tonally he does nothing Nordin couldn’t have handled, as the Dozer guitarist proves with the lines he lays over Johan Rockner’s distorted bass in a break in “Two Coins For Eyes.” Still, when he enters that song before it’s three minutes in, he delivers the title line and does so effectively, as one would have to expect. He’s still a couple minutes before the song (and thus the album) hits its boiling point, so Dozer have very clearly not given away the most crucial moment of Beyond Colossal, and thus Fallon acts as part of the buildup. It works, and if they get more attention for having his name attached to the record, good on them.
It’s a case of “In like a lion, out like a lamb” when it comes to closer “Bound For Greatness,” which offers a soft organ line and some semi-confident, accented crooning from Nordin. It’s a song that would only really work in either the opening or ending spots (and this would be a much different album if this song started it), and where it is, it offers a thoughtful exit for the band, who capture a range of emotions and sonics throughout. The silence when it’s over feels especially loud.
In thinking about Beyond Colossal especially as it relates to the rest of the Dozer catalog and in particular Through The Eyes Of Heathens, I wouldn’t know even where to start judging one over the other or on what basis to even judge from, so I’ll skip that. I will say, however, that this album feels, like its predecessor, like an album that will open up over time and be something worth returning to again and again. And no, I won’t regret saying so once it hits print.
- JJ Koczan
Swedish rock giants Dozer are one of many bands that have offered high quality fuzzed out stoner rock to the eager masses for quite some time now. Being discovered by Frank Kozik and starting out out on his now sadly defunct Man's Ruin label, after which finally landing on Small Stone Records. Dozer has come a long way since their debut album "In the Tail of a Comet" in 2000. Their first two albums focussed exclusively on a fuzzed out, groovy stoner sound which was very reminiscent of especially Kyuss. Since then the band has solidified their own identity starting with "Call it Conspiracy" in 2002. On this album we were able to hear a much more hard rock oriented Dozer than before, incredibly catchy riffs, powerful music and decent production. Singer Fredrik Nordin's voice often reminded of rock icons like Soundgarden's Chris Cornell. "Through the Eyes of Heathens" followed in 2005 and pretty much did what the album before it did, only better. The production was more powerful as a whole and the music was even more catchy. A guest performance was done by Mastodon's Troy Sanders and several tours followed, last year's being joined by the Icelandic rock band Brain Police.
Now a new album has been released carrying the title "Beyond Colossal" and Dozer has just completed another European tour together with the Dutch band Tank86 supporting Swedish retro rockers Witchcraft. The album title is very fitting as this record is a massive one. Dozer's ex-drummer Karl Daniel Lidén was responsible for the production and did an excellent job. Everything fits really well and the whole seems to have multiple layers to it. Lots of effects on both instruments and vocals make everything come across thick and the production as a whole adds a lot of depth to the record. More than a few listens later I am able to conclude that "Beyond Colossal" retains the addictive qualities of Dozer's previous works, yet offers a lot more in terms of staying power. The fuzzy stoner rock of their first two albums is present in several songs as well as plenty of parts where the band completely rocks out like on the previous two albums. This time the band has recruited Clutch's singer, Neil Fallon, to provide guest vocals on "Empire's End" and "Two Coins for Eyes".
When the album starts with opening song "The Flood", the mood is set. This song is very reminiscent of the previous album "Through the Eyes of Heathens", a heavy rock song with Dozer's signature sound oozing all over it. The next song called "Exoskeleton pt. 2" is taken from the previous tour split the band did with Brain Police. This track already shows that there is a lot more depth to this album. Drummer Olle Mårthans made his debut here and it has to be noted that his playing is excellent throughout "Beyond Colossal". Songs like "Message Through the Horses" and "Fire for Crows" are really catchy without becoming annoying in any way. "Bound for Greatness" is a minimalistic outro song where a Hammond Organ along with vocals is most prevalent and guitar is used only sparingly, yet it still remains very catchy.
Dozer has clearly perfected their playing style on this album and should be recognised as one of stoner rock's greatest acts. The guitar playing throughout the album is still filled with hooks that keep luring you back to the songs and the vocals are excellent once more. Any fan of stoner rock or hard rock will appreciate this album as it's truly solid. Recommended purchase.
Review by: David
One has to admire the members of Dozer for having the balls to name their fifth album Beyond Colossal, thereby raising fan expectations to improbable heights; but then, Sweden's longest-running stoner rock band (arguably) haven't paid much mind to external forces throughout their career -- or else they'd have switched to death metal or pop music by now. No, Dozer remain committed to their primary musical course, and like other stoner rock stalwarts such as Fu Manchu or Clutch (whose Neil Fallon lends guest vocals on a couple of these tracks), their enduring relevance resides in both maintaining the broad strokes and manipulating the minute idiosyncrasies of their particular sonic recipe, so that it can balance familiarity with fresh perspectives. In the specific case of Beyond Colossal, this entails embarking on what is arguably their heaviest and darkest song cycle yet, although prime examples like "The Flood," "The Ventriloquist," and the really quite beyond colossal "The Throne" aren't exactly depressing so much as wickedly foreboding, substituting hooks and softer contrasts for absolutely crushing riffs and tornado-like vocal howls. Even slightly more melodic numbers like "Empire's End" (which sometimes sounds like a distorted take on Blondie's "Call Me"), "Grand Inquisitor" (featuring a gentle, whispered midsection), and "Bound for Greatness" (a drawn-out stoner rock hymn of sorts) are to a certain extent draped in bleak shades of despair. All this obviously makes Beyond Colossal a distinctly less accessible or immediate listening experience than recent Dozer albums, but their fans will surely be up for the challenge -- and rewarded for their efforts -- in no time.
- Eduardo Rivadavia
The new Dozer album “Beyond Colossal” is really moving me. Like their last release “Through The Eyes Of Heathens,” Dozer has once again out-did themselves. Like a fine wine, this band gets better with age. The songwriting keeps building up to a level that most bands can’t accomplish. I am really blown away on how good this new record is.
“The Flood” rocks like an opening song should. Plenty of heavy riffage and great singing melodies alike, Dozer has once again returned with a vengeance. The second track “Exoskeleton, pt. II” was featured on the split “Tour EP” with Iceland’s Brain Police. A great song that formulates what Dozer is capable of. The third song entitled “Empire’s End” picks up the pace again and drives along with conviction. “The Ventriloquist” opens with bass and has a softer touch with more great singing courtesy of Fredrik. The dynamics of these songs are inspiring to say the least. The fifth song called “Grand Inquisitor” reminds me of something off of “Heathens” with the excellent guitar playing and contrasts of light to heavy.
After all, “Beyond Colossal” was recorded by Daniel Liden (drummer on “Heathens” and the first two Greenleaf albums.) He definitely knows the Dozer sound. His ability to produce such a great sounding record says a lot. All of the songs on this release are very good and stand out individually as well. The new drummer is a perfect match for the band. This will be one of this years top albums!
“The Throne”, “Fire For Crows”, and “Two Coins For Eyes” should appeal to all Dozer fans. The last song “Bound For Greatness” is a mellow tune that ends the CD perfectly with good singing and some tasty keyboards. “Beyond Colossal” will definitely be in my top 10 for 2008. For fans of any and all of the Dozer releases, this one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for sure!!!
- Mark Richard (Backer)