Fried, not stirred — that’s how the Sweden’s rawest metal-fuck, Kamchatka, sears through brain and under the midnight sun, splits shipboards in the salty cabin of the mind. Triumphing over America’s bittersweet rock scales, the band’s clean delivery assails the listener like a blind man at the end of a pirate’s death plank. The group allies the sons of such progressive metal gods as Opeth, from whence Kamchatka’s bassist, Per Wiberg, has descended, to flex the synthetic layerings of a strong keyboard into the fiery mix. While seemingly overrun with the conventional, albeit masterful, metal-band vibe, Kamchatka reminds that even hell offers the essential delight of surprise, as the second track “Tango Decadence” ends in a folkloric Euro-South-American animation of acoustical flight. Next, “Coast to Coast” frees up a country cool amid the licking flames of a metal drive, flattening every last living thing with a powerfully authentic guitar solo from Thomas Anderson (also the band’s vocalist), battered down with a sweet rhythmic cowbell.

Kamchatka is synonymous with the estranged, far-off peninsula wilderness of the furthest reaches of eastern Russia, home to a chain of world heritage volcanoes, which may just offer the eponymous kicker for the band’s legacy. By mid-album, “Broken Man” sounds much like the mid-life wicker-chair guitar force that chokes and burns in the throat grappling with the failing voice of age. Still, The Search Goes On reflects more than nostalgia, and for the metal buff certainly offers a firm grasp of one of the sharpest of Europe’s most resounding musical edges.

By Matt Hanson

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