September 29, 2023

Superlynx are a three-piece Norwegian group that was formed in 2013, with this fourth album marking their tenth anniversary – hence the logic behind what appears initially as a baffling album title. They define their own music as something that ‘melts heavy psychedelic rock, doom, meditative atmospheres and droning riffs together’, although if you wanted to be brief, you could just call it stoner rock! Now, whatever label you want to put on it, this is a very crowded market these days, so it’s difficult to get noticed. What attributes might Superlynx bring to the table that would make them stand out? Well, the most immediately striking one is that they have a female singer, by the name of Pia Isaaksen. Stoner rock isn’t quite an all-male preserve but it’s hardly aflood with females either so Isaaksen’s somewhat ethereal voice certainly puts a unique spin on things. Isaaksen also plays the bass (and does the album artwork so is a real multi-tasker!) while drummer Ole Teigen just plays drums despite being singer and guitarist in another band (Ole Devil & The Spirit Chasers). Suerlynx’s guitarist is Daniel Bakken, a seasoned musician who also happens to be manager of a Metal bar in Oslo (shucks; wish I knew that when I was there last year!). 

Opener Into The Sun is a good introduction to the band since it pretty much represents the template for the band’s sound. It opens with a snail-paced electric guitar refrain that is then revved up with power chords, ponderous drums and bass giving the song that psychedelic and doom edge. Issakson’s vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, I suspect. It’s as if someone from an ambient group had wandered into the wrong studio and their pleasant ethereal singing is drowned out by three long-haired guys hammering away. Her voice was certainly so low in the mix that I couldn’t make out the lyrics myself, and the absence of any striking melody meant that my attention was drawn back towards Bakken’s excellent guitar work and the fine riff that drives the song.

The highlight of the album is probably Sphynx, which starts off even slower than Into The Sun, and again has an excellent stoner riff mixing picked notes and reverberating chords. At the half-way point though there’s a surprise as the stoner doom atmosphere gives was to pure Sabbath-like metal riffing and then an impressive solo that injects some much-needed energy into proceedings. Nothing To Everything is the longest track at almost eight minutes and another good song. It has yet another weighty doom-laden guitar refrain, this time with a bluesy edge to it. The vocal parts are not that convincing but the return of the riff in ever-heavier disguises carries the song forward relentlessly.  Two-thirds of the way through, a chugging rhythm gives the impression that the song is about to hit the accelerator in the fashion of say Sabbath’s Heaven And Hell – and that would be welcome – but sadly it instead verges into another slow grinding riff.  

The three tracks mentioned above account for around twenty minutes or half of the total duration of the release, and they represent the best music here. The issue with playing music at this pace is that if you don’t have a damn good riff or a damn good melody then it simply tends to drag.  Tracks such as The Unknown and Under Its Spell try to reproduce the magic but their riffs lack that spark and the result is listenable but not great music. And then there are tracks like Away and Heavier Than Me which crawl along with very little musical or melodic inspiration. The lack of variety in Isaakson’s voice doesn’t help here, and the situation is compounded by riffs which by the end start sounding very similar to each other. It may be that fans of Superlynx or stoner music in general will have a more positive opinion than my own but to these ears the band are guilty of not injecting enough variety and energy into their music. It’s a pity because Into The Sun, Sphynx and Nothing To Everything all demonstrate great potential and they are definitely a band to keep an eye on.