Jan-Simon : It is brave to start your album with a thirteen minutes song. Quite a bold statement, but it is not necessarily wise. ‘Atomic Zod War’, Swedish The Black Explosion’s second record, kicks of with ‘Paralyzed’, an ambitious epic that sounds like what the roadmap of a Tour de France mountain stage looks like: a long sequence of highs and lows. After a two minutes intro, the threesome gets going with a slow killer doom riff and vocals that remind of Monster Magnet, only to make a complete u-turn after six minutes. The pace increases and the song turns into pubrock on a stampede and finally closes with some musical stretching exercises.
It is a risky opening, because not everyone is a reviewer who has to sit out these thirteen long minutes in order to know what comes next. Many people will therefore miss out on the Sabbath pastiche that is ‘Ain’t Coming Home’, the almost ambient intermezzo ‘World Is Dead’ or the Siamese twins ‘Location 9’ / ‘Going Down’ that mix brutal stoner rock and acid blues riffs with strongly distorted vocals that - despite all the effects – remain the weakest point of The Black Explosion. The closing two tracks have their moments, but it’s not enough to tilt the scales to “good”. In other words, ‘Atomic Zod War’ is an album that has an unfortunate start and not withstanding all good intentions does not get back on track. Moving ‘Paralyzed’ to the back would have made considerable difference, but not enough to ameliorate this album’s quality.