Pike: To cross the great divide
14/06/12 || gk
“To Cross the Great Divide” is the debut album by the young Swedish trio Pike and this is one impressive debut. The band only had a demo released in 2010 prior to this full length outing but “To Cross the Great Divide” pretty much fell into my lap out of nowhere; fully formed and demanding attention.
The band basically plays a sort of stoner metal and as the album started with opener “Rituale Romanum” I was simply ticking off all the check boxes that seem to have become genre clichés. 10 minute plus length, a little bit of High on Fire, some Mastodon, a little bit of doom, some post metal and the inevitable shift from heavy and loud parts to softer parts. Then the song got to its climax and its huge sounding last 3 minutes and I was blown away. I stopped ticking imaginary boxes and simply listened as the band effortlessly brought together all of the ideas of the first 7 minutes into a superb finish with guitarist Erik Palm’s soaring lead guitar being very, very impressive. “Nothing but Dust” is a bit more mournful in nature with a largely mid paced sludgy doom riff acting as the centrepiece of the song. It goes off into a quieter section for the last section and builds slowly into a very catchy segment before ending with another great lead guitar section. “Ned Land” is the centrepiece of the album for me. A lengthy epic based on “20,000 Leagues under the Sea” it starts with a foreboding intro and slowly builds some great atmosphere over the course of its 11 minutes. The album closes with “At the End of Existence” which is another lengthy song that focuses on building mood and calmly progresses from a quiet opening to a heavy doom metal feel to an absolutely sublime melodic guitar line that can get stuck in my head for days. ac
Guitarist Erik Palm is the star of the show here. While the songs are almost uniformly great, Palm’s riffs and more importantly his solos really add some depth to these songs. Alex Risberg plays the bass and sings and his bass playing is solid with a warm tone and some very cool bass lines. It’s his singing that will probably be the most polarizing aspect of Pike. While I have to admire Risberg’s attitude and his clean approach right through the album, it doesn’t always work. Occasionally, the half sung, half shouted approach sounds like a weaker Glen Danzig and his vocals distract from the song.
There are a few kinks that might need working out. 4 of the 5 songs here essentially work under the same format of slow and quite opening, mid paced riffs with some energy in the middle and then ending with a big and loud blowout. It works well individually but gives off a sense of déjà vu when listening to the whole album in one sitting.
Pike are easily the most promising new band I’ve heard so far this year and I am really excited about what this trio will get up to next. Fans of the stoner doom/ metal genres will do well to check out “To Cross the Great Divide” and Pike is a name you should remember.
- Released: 2012
- Label: Independent
- Website: Pike Bandcamp
- Alex Risberg: vocals, bass
- Alvin Risberg: drums
- Erik Palm: guitars
- 01. Rituale Romanum
- 02. Nothing but Dust
- 03. Mountainous
- 04. Ned Land
- 05. At the End of Existence