Returning with its all-important third album, Sweden’s VOKONIS wastes not a second in getting down to business with ‘AntlerQueen’, roiling rhythms and riffs alternately ascending/descending letting the listener know they’re in for a bit of a jostle from the start. Shades of Leviathan-era MASTODON are lain over the rumble of TRANSPORT LEAGUE at its best, and both melding seamlessly, the plaintive leadwork of Simon Ohlsson at around the 4-minute mark crashing, then languid in a dreamlike haze over the rhythm section of Jonte Johansson and Peter Ottoson (bass, drums respectively), to the climax of an already memorable album.

Replacing a member at any point in a trio is never an easy thing, but, to his credit, Ottoson seems to fit superbly into his new role, knowing where to accent and when to assault with an almost telepathic ease.
‘Sunless Hymnal’, at least in a sonic sense, conjures what might’ve happened in a MOUNTAIN/LED ZEPPELIN jam session (think ‘Theme From An Imaginary Western’ and ‘No Quarter’) in its simultaneous beauty and bombast, neither sacrificing the song itself in the process. Conversely, ‘I Hear The Siren’ is vicious, nearly primeval in its lament, tragic and unrelenting, even during the more subdued portions of its playing time.

‘Exiled’, with its hard boogie, leads into a loping, abbreviated ‘Ashes’, almost causing one to view the former as the end of one chapter, the latter as the beginning of another, surprisingly not causing a lag in the exact spot on an album where back-to-back instrumentals would likely spell the death of interest.

Though ‘Fading Lights’ may signal a blowing out of the candles for Grasping Time, it also shows that, even in sight of the end, VOKONIS is unwilling to ease back on the intensity that’s been the hallmark of this album so far, unrelenting solos and bellowed, tortured howls erupting from the marrow-deeps of the human experience. Play this album either before or after DEADBIRD’s equally-stellar – and coincidentally, also third – III: The Forest Within The Tree, and you’re in for a night of listening not soon to be forgotten.
Review By: Lord Randall

Grasping Time
The Sign Records
5.5 / 6