Fifth album breakthrough for the Swedish blues-rock trio
This may be Swedish trio Kamchatka's fifth album but to many, myself included, it will probably be their breakthrough. It's rare to find an album that bridges the gap between past and present so well as The Search Goes On. Steeped in traditional blues rock but with a heavier progressive edge, the effect is evened out by excellent production so that there are few of the rough edges you might expect from either genre.
The premise is simple enough: take deceptively laidback Seventies-style blues riffing and build the energy with incredible rolling drum licks, gradually bringing in more progressive and heavier influences, but always keeping it tightly under control. All the explosive energy is concentrated down so there's relatively little filler here (but I'll admit Son of the Sea probably did the least for me). At their heart they could easily rival QOTSA with single Tango Decadence, but it's fairer to say that they should be mentioned in the same breath as bands like The Answer; heavy but relishing the opportunity to use cleaner guitar tones and slower phrasing. The rollicking Coast to Coast or Free-esque Pressure are perfect driving material - the vibe is vocally relaxed but with an underlying explosive power.
The guitar can sometimes seem a little heavy-handed for the quieter moments (Broken Man), but the vocals are a real joy. It's hard not to double-take when you think you hear Paul Rogers or early David Coverdale on tracks like the euphoric Dragons or progressive title track, showing off clean, powerful phrasing that's an easy match for the wall-of-sound instrumentals.
Album highlights are bouncy unlikely anthem Thank You For Your Time and the amazing Dragons, but their smartest move was to fearlessly drop in slower tracks like Cross The Distance, showcasing a more complex side than the 12-bar riffing. It may not be breaking particularly new ground, but it's an incredibly solid album which should find a very wide fan base through classic rock, blues and metal.