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Hardly a month in 2011 goes by without receiving a new promo release from Transubstans Records. It goes without saying that not each new album appeals to me, which does not mean that Transubstans doesn't look for quality. Quite the opposite is true. As is so often the case, it is most likely a matter of taste. In fact, this is the reason why the debut album by Sweden's SKRAECKOEDLAN leaves me almost cold. A bit sad, because they have chosen a nice approach to their fuzz-driven Kyuss-esque sound. All songs have been touched up with a nice metal edge and sometimes a bit of space rock shines through their heavy sound.

It is exactly these features which make sure that SKRAECKOEDLAN is more than a pale Kyuss imitation. In addition, they sing their songs in their native language, which is why I am always reminded of the great Swedish 1970's band November when I listen to 'Äppelträdet'. In all other respects, however, SKRAECKOEDLAN has no affinity for 1970's style rock, quite contrary to most of the bands on Transubstans Records. But despite all the praise 'Äppelträdet' is still an average album for me. It has less to do with the musicianship (which is really good) than with the songwriting qualities of the band. There's a lack of compelling hooks and a lot of pointless riffs that you swear you've heard already.

In fact, SKRAECKOEDLAN make great efforts to keep things interesting with the help of sudden changes in chords which leads to a U-turn away from the classic song structure. But I get the impression that they just add a change for the sake of having a change. It doesn't sound organic to me and I don't get rid of the impression that SKRAECKOEDLAN want to attract fans of Mastodon and the like. To be honest, I don't like Mastodon and Kyuss never played a big role in my life. Perhaps that is also the reason why 'Äppelträdet' doesn't leave a lasting impression in my heart and mind. Even the brute heaviness of their sound can't change that. But I can well imagine that fans of Kyuss, Mastodon or Dozer get a lot of pleasure from listening to this album.