As soon as I started playing this I was taken back more than 20 years to two albums released on the long-lost Ad Perpetuam Memoriam label by a band called Death Organ. Led by keyboardist Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars), their music was a strange mix of death metal and prog and notably contained no guitars. I wonder if these guys have come across them, as yet again we have a band producing heavy music, with no guitars involved. Actually, their motto is, “No six-strings allowed,” and they create a soundscape equipped with just bass, drums and Hammond organ and a vast array of lengthy jam-based compositions interspersed with heavy stoner-like riffs.
The trio of Fredrik Andersson (Hammond and Farfisa Organ, Mellotron, synthesizer, electric piano, flute, and vocals), Linus Karlsson (bass, Theremin, sound effects) and Wiktor Nydén (drums) have taken Atomic Rooster as a starting point and have then moved on from there. I was fortunate enough to see Vincent Crane, John Du Cann and Paul Hammond (all three now sadly deceased) some 35 years ago, and the power they were putting out onstage, without a bass, was quite incredible, and here Blå Lotus are doing the same without a guitar. With a very heavy use of Hammond, their sound is strongly rooted in the early Seventies, and they move between extended instrumentals and vocals with ease. That this is a great album is never in doubt, and it is incredible to think that they came together in Autumn of 2016, and recorded this album in April the following year, as they sound as if they have been bouncing ideas off each other for years. Now if only Per Wiberg would reform Death Angel, and the two bands went out on the road together, that would be something well worth seeing. If you have ever enjoyed the sound of a Hammond Organ in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, then this is essential.
8/10 – Kev Rowland