I recently named Vanhelgd Mjölby's finest, and that is a statement that remains unchanged, yet definitely not unchallenged, after the release of Ocean Chiefs new album. The bands do actually even have a common denominator in the guitarist Björn Andersson. Unlike Vanhelgd's sinister death metal, this is all about stoner/doom, with a generous dose of atmosphere and raw primordial power added.
Compared to their previous album, by the name of Sten, which was amazing if you just had the time to make it all the way through its 71 minutes, Universums Härd is a way shorter, faster and more straight to the point in general. A decision I absolutely appreciate, I don't mind a 3-minute facemelter like Urtiden among the 10, 15 or sometimes even 20+ minute monoliths piled up on each other, that sort of have become their trademark. Something that makes this album even more dynamic are the instrumental interludes, Färden being the most stellar one. Dissecting the ideas into smaller parts instead of having a bunch of extremely long songs was a great choice, intentionally or not.
So even though they might be defeated this time, Ocean Chief has delivered an impressive effort that caught my attention like never before. I'm looking forward to the clash of the Mjölby-titans round two. 7.5/10 /H