Prins Svart is yet another Swedish rock band but the real surprise is that it is one that is virtually different to any other band hailing from those shores. For a start, the vocals are all in Swedish so it is a band that likes to make a statement as it blend progressive and heavy rock with an industrial back beat to make a retro and most organic sound. This is album number three from Prins Svart and none have been overly long with Under Jord clocking in at a miserly 31-minutes so it fails in terms of quantity but it rates very highly in the quality stakes and that is the only one that truly matters.
The band is an eclectic three-piece with Henrik Bergqvist on guitar and vocals, Sebastian Sippola on drums and Tomas Thorberg on bass and vocals and for this release they have invited numerous Swedish vocalists to interpret their material so we also have Mats Levén (Skyblood/ex-Candlemass), Håkan Hemlin (Nordman), Janne Åström (Medborgarna/ Så ska det låta) and Matti Alfonzetti Alfonzetti (Skintrade) performing alongside them as well as fellow guest Rickard Nilsson (Avatarium) and his Hammond organ and, even with various singers, the music is seamless as all the tracks blend so smoothly together. Prins Svart is not a band I know and neither do I know a fair few of the guests but, apparently, they are all singing outside their usual comfort zones yet it all come across excellently and the Swedish tongue really does work well on the material offered by the band.
Strangely, the band states the music is rooted in the 1970s which I can see but they then talk about Zeppelin, Purple, Sabbath plus ’80s influences in Dio, Whitesnake Rainbow and Ozzy which are not really so obviously. The band delivers a unique and heady brew of styles with their sound being portentious, dark, brooding and full of menace and, in my humble opinion, the sound seems to have developed more from Bad Company and King Crimson with just a touch of Rammstein thrown in for added power. I think everyone will hear something different in their music but it is so obvious that everything that the band members have been listening to over the years has been absorbed leading to the creation of their own, unique and independent sound which will surely amaze those fortunate enough to hear the albums and see the band live. The short album closes all too quickly with a quite intense and superbly played live version of Den gröna Manalishi med tvåhornad krans or as we more commonly know it, Peter Green’s ‘The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)’ which came as a quite wonderful surprise given that I do not speak Swedish so wasn’t prepared for it at all. I’m not sure why they have included this cover on the new album but it works perfectly and the dark Swedish interpretation gives the track a new life in the same way that Judas Priest did too.
Prins Svart is a band unlike most others hailing from Sweden and ‘Under Jord’ is an album that is most impressive and it stays with you for a very, very long time.
Under Jord track list
- Inte så lätt som det ser ut (3.33)
- Här finns bara jag (3.55)
- Drömskåp på glänt (1.02)
- Sanningen för mig (5.02)
- Ingen minns oss när vi går (5.49)
- Om det dom viskar är sant (4.02)
- Allt mitt liv (2.45)
- Den gröna Manalishi med tvåhornad krans (Live från Kägelbanan 2018) (4.17)