Released: 2012, Spora Recordz
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
I don’t know of any Saint Erik’s... In fact I highly doubt the likelihood of Erik being a saint at all. Would a saint be conversing with the like of S:t Erik – a stoner/doom band from Sweden? Not possible because if Erik had been listening to ‘From Under The Tarn’ he’d have been too busy laying back and widening his eyes as his brain took a trip into the revolving mass of space to be off doing saintly stuff.
‘From Under The Tarn’ actually appeared back in 2009, but this year is being given a new lease of life of shiny vinyl by Spora Recordz. If you didn’t catch it the first time around it wasn’t just because you were under a rock, but because it didn’t seem to get the push it deserved. What’s been going on in S:t Erik’s world since then remains a little bit of an unknown, but at least we can sweep aside some of that mystery to big up ‘From Under The Tarn’.
It may only be five tracks long but this is an album which takes its time with the shortest only just making it under the seventh-minute mark and the longest spinning out over 13. These are monolithic slabs of doom, with that stoner groove, but the songs need that time and that space to really come into being.
You could argue that S:t Erik are not that original in their execution – there’s a clear influence of Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard amongst others, and the classic down-tuned long drawn out riffs we may well be used to - but ‘From Under The Tarn’ always keeps one foot off the well-trodden path.
As a collection of songs, ‘From Under The Tarn’ is a powerful first-release-proper mixing atmosphere and the imposing, a feeling best summed up in ‘Goddess’, which not only strangely encourages a slow nodding headbang but also indulges in a kind of ethereal transference leaving you floating halfway between the two. ‘The Search’ maintains that dreamy essence, but also takes a trip through the psychedelic courtesy of some actually good use of synthesisers.
Although the rhythmic drums of ‘Your Highness’ at least give you something solid to hang on to, the rest of the track feels like a slow spiral through space with just 70’s arcades games for company – at least the Invaders will be at home. The echoing vocals don’t help that feeling of getting further and further away from reality. The deliberate bass notes of ‘Black Wall’ delivers you back to Earth with a bump, whilst the Sabbath-y vocals set you on familiar ground, before ‘Swan Song’ tips the whole thing on its head again with its gentile-to wall of noise sound and despairing cries.
‘From Under The Tarn’ might seem a little like the tortoise in a world of over-wound Duracell bunny bands, but with this album S:t Erik have proved true once again that slow and steady wins the race.
Interview by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs