Skånska Mord is:
Jan Bengtsson: vocals, harmonica
Patric Carlsson: bass
Thomas Jönsson: drums
Patrik Berglin: guitar
Petter Englund: guitar
All songs written and arranged by Skånska Mord.
Recorded at Lemon Recordings by Martin Ekelund.
Produced by Skånska Mord and Martin Ekelund.
Keyboards by Martin Ekelund.
Mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio, Ann Arbor, MI.
Sleeve design and layout by Björn Wallin.
Photographs by Anette Therén, Björn Wallin, Tord Lundmark and Niclas Moreno
Although this album has been released in January 2010, it is still worth writing some good words about it. If you love classic 1970's hardrock, 'The Last Supper' is the album for you. SKÅNSKA MORD has done a very fine job what certainly is because of the prehistory of the band members. Some of them were in Mothercake and the others in Half Man, where especially the latter one have already caused a stir among retro rock fans with their debut album 'Red Herring'. That was almost nine years ago, but this Swedish guys have not forgotten how to churn out finest 1970's hardrock of highest quality. 'The Last Supper' is the first full-length from SKÅNSKA MORD for Small Stone Records and leaves nothing to be desired. The whole album is consistently furious and each of the included ten tracks convinces with infectious hooklines. Not to mention, of course, the purely awesome technical skills involved in the playing. Best of all, I am not exaggerating.
What also strikes me about this album is the fantastic groove throughout that never at any point becomes tiresome. Too many times these type of bands simply re-hash repetitive riffing, but on this album Petter Englund's and Patrik Berlin's guitar playing is spot on. And even if this record is mainly influenced from the blues-driven hardrock of the early 1970's, SKÅNSKA MORD have not lost the connection to the present. That is partly due to the modern sounding production and partly due to the metal-tinged riffs that sometimes appear in a few tracks.
Despite all this, 'The Last Supper' is a heavy slab of unadulterated classic rock. 'Two In The Morning' is hard blues rock with additional harmonica, whereas '111' is moving towards funk without missing the heaviness of previous tunes. The title track is a slower paced 9:31 minutes epic which blends some quiet thoughful sections with some killer verses that blast out in style. Whenever the organ appears as for example in 'The Hermit', bands like Nick Simper's Warhorse, Deep Purple or Lucifer's Friend involuntarily come to mind. I could go on and on, but even a thousand words aren't enough to describe the magic of SKÅNSKA MORD. 'The Last Supper' is a feast for the ears and that's simply the truth.
When the first note of Skånska Mord forced itself into my skull at 6:45 a.m. I knew that I didn’t have a choice. They already had my head bobbing, my lungs burning, and my soul soaring. Formed from the remains of Half Man and Mothercake, these guys have constructed an impressive first effort.
A beast stomping through the darkest wood best describes the first track. “Under the Volcano”. The notes are thick, tuned down and spaced in such a way that Janne Bengtsson rips through your merciful ears with a voice that Chris Cornell can only truly appreciate. Add in the fact that I imagine him positioned into a semi-fetal position in the vain of Joe Cocker, straining and pleading his lyrics, and you have a knockout for the first track.
“Things are Quiet Out There” sneaks up with a vengeance and the evidence of Sabbath-inspired-blues reveal themselves. Sleepy bass with moments of the sweetest, weepiest guitar move through this track and carries itself into the next song, “Doghouse”.
“The Journey” lives up to its name and you feel like you’re on a carriage being manned by Ozzy (circa 1970s) and driven by a band of acid enriched horses. Not trippy. Just a little unpredictable in all the right ways. Thick, charming, and full of doom.
“Two in the morning” and “Daybreak” start with a harmonica frenzy, then slip back into the sludge. Particularly on “Daybreak” do we hear the boys from Sweden methodically move through the slumber of doom.
“111” comes straight from the vaults of Clutch. A foot tappin mix of southern rock with the “preacher-style” singing of Neil Fallon. Sticking with the preacher idea, “The Hermit” sets the band in an abandoned cathedral with a grinding pace and an organ sound that makes you want to repent. This song crawls along the pews and demands you to bow your head and listen.
The album finishes with the 9 minute title track. Like most songs on this album, a journey is going to ensue. The song ebbs and flows from hard driven doom to a hippie induced strum along. The middle of the song lives up to the banner of stoner rock, with an impressive jam session.
Small Stone Recording have a slew of talented bands, and their addition of Skånska Mord only solidifies the labels efforts. This album moves along the edges of a windy dirt road that snakes its way through the darkest corners of the forest. Effortlessly moving forward, but with a constant gaze of what has been.
Tying in with my affection for Wax Trax, the label who released the My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult material, Small Stone are a newer (to me) label that are really putting out some interesting music and this long player really sets the standard.
If your leaning is towards Soundgarden, Temple Of The Dog, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots then rush out and buy this album now. Think of a down-tuned Sabbath at times, listen to 'Doghouse' to see what I mean. The vocals are awesome throughout, think bastard son of Chris Cornell and Ozzy Osbourne, and this from a Swedish metal band. Yes, yet another European addition to the collection.
The more you listen the more Sabbath influences come out at you; 'Two In The Morning' is definitely the 'Wizard' in disguise but does that really matter???!!! There isn't what I could call a weak track on the album. Set the volume to 'Stoner', nod the head slowly, down-tune your guitar, set the wah and drift.
Seven out of ten for effort. Stand out track on the album for me is '111'. Smiles all round.
- Nev Brooks
Populated by former members of various long-running but obscure swedish retro-rock outfits, Skånska Mord will, at the very least, be hoping to become rather better known. On this evidence, there halfway there already. Steeped in 70`s lore and appropriating moves from early Sabbath, Purple and Rainbow. The Last Supper keeps the retro vibe flowing while ditching the deliberatly dated production values favored by most other revivalists. There are shades of fellow countrymen Withchcraft and Graveyard here too, and at times vocalist Jan Bengtsson has a whiff of Chris Cornell about him. If you dig a bit of dad-rock and the groovy flare-wearing half of the Rise Above stable, stick this on your list right now.
- Greg Moffitt
You’ll end up finding there is no shortage of love for the Swedes and all things Scandinavian on our website. Whether it’s film or great music, they seem to have a knack for pleasing a lot of the cats that write for The Blood Sprayer. Fortunately, there is no shortage of cool stuff that this lovely part of the world puts forth and we can now add Skanska Mord to that long list of Swedish awesomeness.
In the realm of fuzzed out, 70’s inspired rockin’, these guys got the goods to hold up with some of the bigger players. “Under the Volcano” ignites the wick with heavy groove and vocal delivery reminiscent of Abramis Brama and carries it’s rock into a fantastic hook-soaked chorus (and another bad ass riff). The album’s second track, “Things are Quite out There”, sounds like it came straight out of the Pentagram songbook. The hits keep rolling right into the crown jewel of the album, “Two in the Mourning”. It starts with a nice blues-laden, heavy boogie that’s complete with some well placed mouth harp, but the song settles into a slow stomp that sounds like Leslie West sitting in with Spirit Caravan. And speaking of Spirit Caravan, “111″ is not too far off from some of the better bouncing tracks from their catalog. Oddly enough, it’s perhaps the only track on the record that moves with that sort of bounce and is appropriately accompanied by a wah pedal lead. Skanska Mord closest out the album with a 9 1/2 minute jam that has all the right dynamics. It’s the closest the band actually comes to verging into true doom rock territory.
While some of their peers (Witchcraft, Graveyard) channel Roky Erickson via Pentagram, Skanska Mord takes the same road as the aforementioned Abramis Brama, opting for a deliberately heavier version of this style. While their stuff has some similarities to Spirit Caravan, Abramis Brama, and Pentagram, there’s also that feel I get from the heavier aspects of Blue Oyster Cult and a slower Deep Purple. But we can throw names around all day-the bottom line is these guys are a solid band with a great album that’s sure to earn them respect in the heavy music circles.
Deep Purple Mk. III and IV were always more popular in overseas than North America and that influence has shown on countless European bands the past 30 years. Skanska Mord sound like a modern version of Deep Purple’s Burn era but with 2 guitars instead of keyboards.
Hailing from a small village in the south of Sweden, it’s obvious that this is not an American band. Their sound is more majestic than most North American hard rock bands even when they include blues elements in the jams. This is their debut album but the members are seasoned musicians, an alliance forged from ex-members of bands Half Man and Mothercake.
“Under The Volcano” opens the album and vocalist Jan Bengtsson sounds almost like Chris Cornell sitting in with Deep Purple on a heavy metal version of “Mistreated.” The riffs are definitely 70’s but the production is modern. The guitars of Patrik Berglin and Petter Englund blend together to sound like one giant instrument while the rhythm section of Patric Carlsson (bass) and Thomas Jönsson (drums) keep it tight but let the music swing when it needs to.
Fans of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” will love the sleazy groove of “Doghouse.” Sabbath freaks will love jams like “Two In The Mourning” and “Daybreak” (NOT the Barry Manilow song), both of which feature some wailing harmonica. “1111” starts off like Iron Maiden’s “Prowler” with some skanky wah-wah and a cool stop-start groove. Hopefully this one will get some play at the strip clubs in their hometown. The title track is a 9 minute epic that starts off slow and moody and builds into a giant guitar duel. This is what Blackfoot might have sounded like if they were from Germany.
Fans of Sweden’s mighty Dozer will love this. So will anyone who digs Cathedral, Obiat, Witchcraft or old Rainbow. This is perfect wintertime music. Put some logs in the fireplace, open up a bottle of wine, thumb through the Satanic Bible and party!
For a band whose name derives from a popular Swedish TV series that aired in the 1980s, Skånska Mord sure try real hard to make believe that decade's music never even happened, choosing instead to use their 2010 debut, The Last Supper, to build their own Bifröst, if you will, to bridge some of the greatest bands of the ‘70s and ‘90s. Stunning opener "Under the Volcano" and, later, other cuts like "In the Dark" and the epic title track take the Soundgarden tactic of slowing down Led Zeppelin to a Black Sabbath creep with devastating consequences; the second cut, "Things Are Quiet Out There," rounds out the holy trinity of ‘70s heavy metal with organs redolent of Deep Purple. But for as much time as they spend reminiscing on the ‘70s (see additional trips down memory lane like the AC/DC-gone-doom of "Dog House" and the naturally funky "111"), Skånska Mord also devote just as much to indulging in the ‘90s alternative rock fetish suggested by that Soundgarden reference above -- primarily because of singer Jan Bengtsson's Chris Cornell-ian vocal range, but also via evident flannel-flying nuances drawn from the Screaming Trees ("The Hermit") and Gruntruck ("A Journey"). And a final dimension of their versatility sees the quintet jamming away on heavy blues-rockers featuring unexpected detours into sludgy doom on "Two in the Morning" and "Daybreak" -- both of which highlight Bengtsson's wailing harmonica skills, to boot. All of these different ingredients guarantee a musical smorgasbord rich enough to keep The Last Supper compelling from appetizer to dessert, and leave those who partake looking forward to Skånska Mord's next vinyl feast.
- Eduardo Rivadavia
Nope, this has nothing to do with the 1980s (Swedish) television series of the same name. Instead, it is a constellation made up of members of the two bands Half Man and Mothercake from Örkelljunga. Two eminently fine ensembles of heavy stoner, blues rock and classic 70's hard rock music.
And while "The Last Supper" will not break much new ground - it is basically the same groove as in the past - one really doesn’t need anything else. Skånska Mord doesn’t make a fuss. They play with heart, because they truly love every fucking second and don’t waste a single moment trying to get their faces in the tabloids or 15 minutes on TV.
On the other hand, their music will have a much more lasting impact.
And then there is vocalist Janne Bengtsson. Jesus Christ, can I write this without being misinterpreted? Whatever, I love him. What a helluva set of pipes this guy has!
- Stefan Lindqvist
Heavy-ass blues rock with acid rock undertones and melodramatic overtones. Overt homages to the evolving hard rock of the late 60s and early 70s. Songs with titles like Under the Volcano and A Journey. You’d think we’d all be sick to hell of it by now. And I am, but Skanska Mord makes me forget my ennui for a while. The Last Supper’s bluesedelia is hardly breaking any ground – hell, it doesn’t even scratch at the soil – but it drips skill and conviction, as if the band is injecting every ounce of itself into these grooves. Made up of veterans from Swedish ensembles Half Man and Mothercake, Skånsa Mord has both the feel and the passion for stuff like Two in the Mourning and The Hermit, finding the blues soul in retro rock in a way even Foghat didn’t back in the day. The not-so-secret weapon is frontman Jan Bengtsson – his colorful singing gives even the most generic sounds personality. The Last Supper ain’t the last word on heavy psych blues rock, but it’s an exclamation point on a sentence you shouldn’t skip over reading.
- Michael Toland
It’s taken me eight days, but I’ve got the first rock n’ review of 2010 for you. I had to go all the way to Sweden to fetch it though, so I hope you’ll understand if I don’t apologize for my tardiness. It’s easy to get hung up over there, what with the milk, honey, hot blonds, and sleazy rawk action. Frankly, I’m surprised I even came back, but I did and I brought Skånska Mord’s debut, The Last Supper, with me. My translation skills aren’t the best, but I believe Skanska Mord means Scanian Murder (Scanian referring to the province of Sweden also known as Skåne), and if I’m right, then these guys most certainly know something you and I don’t, and are probably capable of so much more.
Ok, Skånska Mord aren’t that mysterious or scary. Formed from the ashes of Mothercake and Half Man, they’re just a bunch of denim-clad longhairs with one boot heel planted firmly on the neck of the ’70s and one hand grasping a big, foggy bowl. The Last Supper, however, is quite tricky, walking a rather fine line between heavy, organ-fried, stoner rock and alternative, radio-friendly, arena rock. I mean, you could tell me Jack Endino recorded it in Seattle and I’d believe you. Or you could tell me they recorded it themselves in the back of a busted van on a hot, dusty Tuesday morning and I’d believe that too. I could toss around names like Dozer and Asteroid and your cock would be justified in getting hard, but if I’m gonna compare them to any of their fellow countrymen, it has to be The Quill (and not just because The Quill singer Magnus Ekwall and Skånska Mord singer Jan Bengtsson are dead ringers for Chris Cornell). The Quill haven’t released anything since 2006, and it’s quite possible they’ve broken up, so it seems like a perfect time for Skånska Mord to fill the loud, groovy void.
I’ve been going over in my head how exactly to get around saying Skånska Mord is generic, but ultimately, there’s really no way to do it. If stoner rock has any kind of traditionalism, then The Last Supper, the Small Stone Records debut from the Swedish five-piece is it. The 10 tracks of the album offer few surprises, focusing instead on meaty ‘70s riffs with the occasional additions of harmonica and organ that, although welcome, aren’t off the wall as far as non-guitar/bass/drums instrumentation goes. Especially in this genre.
With two members of Half Man — vocalist Jan Bengtsson and bassist Patric Carlsson — and three from Mothercake — drummer Thomas Jönsson and guitarists Patrik Berglin and Petter Englund — Skånska Mord comes with built in interest for those who’ve been around the scene for a while, but The Last Supper still needs to stand on its own as a quality release before it’s going to be accepted. And for the most part, it does. A trio of tracks toward the latter half of the album, “In the Dark,” “111” and “The Hermit” are all highlights, and earlier rockers “A Journey” and opener “Under the Volcano” satisfy any riff cravings that might pop up. It’s just straightforward stoner rock. If that’s what you’re looking for, then Skånska Mord is what you need.
Hi guys. Bengtsson has a bit of a Cornell fetish, but his voice isn’t out of place over Berglin or Englund’s guitars, and the rock is brought capably throughout. The only real issue I have with the album is that there isn’t much special about it. For a country that produced the likes of Dozer, Truckfighters, The Awesome Machine, Asteroid and countless other quality bands, these guys just aren’t quite there yet. Not so say they won’t ever be — and with the bluesy feel throughout, Skånska Mord aren’t trying for the same fuzzy sound as the aforementioned — but there’s a personality that needs further development in the band if they’re to make a genuine name for themselves in the international scene.
Still, The Last Supper is a sans-bullshit trip down the familiar path of true rock and roll, and that’s rarely a bad thing. It may not be album of the year, but Skånska Mord make an engaging debut nonetheless that is just waiting for the right mood and vibe to be appreciated. One has to wonder how dudes living in a country so damn cold can make such good barbecue music. However they do it, be glad they do. There are some moments where Skånska Mord truly shine on their debut, and hopefully they use them as the touchstones of their evolution going forward. Rock.
- H.P. Taskmaster
It's understandable if you consider Small Stone Records a US only label. After all, their stable of North American acts is impressive on it's own, with the likes of The Brought Low, Roadsaw, Sasquatch, Acid King, and, provided they finish their damn album, Solace. But for the past couple of years, the Detroit label has been branching out, finding more gems from the old country.
With The Last Supper, we're returning to Sweden, the country that gave us the mighty Dozer. But while Dozer has been actively moving away from that signature “stoner rock” sound, Skanska Mord's toeing a more traditional line. Like their neighbors in Brain Police, this five-piece embraces big riffs and big hooks, making it seem like it's still the beginning of this decade.
For fans of the genre, what makes this a boon is that Skanska Mord makes it sound new. Tracks like “Under the Volcano,” “Doghouse,” “111,” “The Hermit,” and the title track have plenty of booming, bombastic heft to go along with their bluesy grooves. They're catchy and heavy, familiar enough for accessibility but not so much that you're underwhelmed with a sense of deja-vu. For a fan of honest, heartfelt rock, there's not much else you could ask for. Recommended.
- John Pegoraro