Swedish trio Vokonis have been mining deep space and ancient fantasy for stoner grooves since their 2015 inception. Their Olde One Ascending debut introduced a surreal cast of acid pilgrims and villages praising shroomblades. Their sophomore record The Sunken Djinn sharpened their songwriting, showing more patience with their hazy doomscapes of blood vortexes and dopesmoke. But Grasping Time—out September 6th from The Sign Records—is more than a step forward. It’s an astral projection into lush forests where riffs grow like monolithic trees. And it all starts with riveting album opener “AntlerQueen.”
Although its opening rumble invokes High on Fire’s incendiary charge, “AntlerQueen” soon gallops into psychedelic woodlands with a communal howl. The song’s ornate riffage splashes through the Red/Blue Baroness era of progressive sludge. Add the progressive leanings of Anciients and you have the foundation of Grasping Time. But it’s also an album that evades simple classification. Every time you try to label “AntlerQueen” there’s a sly juke to lead you deeper into the song’s wilderness. At the one minute mark the guitar heroics echo Thin Lizzy by way of the heaviest strains of 420 metal. In between explosions of green-tinted doom, sun-baked psychedelia blossoms late in the song. When the backing snarls claw their way into the final minute they soon give way to a gentle wind-swept croon. “AntlerQueen” is a dynamic opening statement that embodies their album’s far-reaching intentions, which is exactly what Vokonis had in mind.
“[This song] is perhaps the defining track to the new sound we worked so hard to achieve,” Vokonis say about “AntlerQueen.” “[We’re] faster, louder and more dynamic than ever before. Heavy and immediate, it starts off with massive distortion and beating drums. We worked hard to make the chorus stand out a lot with vocal harmonies and drive. It’s perhaps where Vokonis shines the most. The combination of our vocals that form one large voice.”
Let the glow of the album cover’s antlers lead you to the streaming player below. Press play and exclusively listen to “AntlerQueen” before Vokonis release Grasping Time on September 6th.