(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
Swedish act Dead Man started out in 2003, and five years after starting out as a folk-trio the band release their sophomore album Euphoria. In the meantime the band has become a quartet, the folk music focus has been expanded, and they have obviously released a debut album; that one saw the light in 2005.
Sweden have become something of a hotbed for bands playing retro music the last few years, with acts like Abramis Brama, Graveyard and Burning Saviours musically reliving the past with some degree of success and critical acclaim. Dead Man is another such act; but one that is a tad different from the aforementioned bands.
Although expanded upon, the foundation for the music performed by this band is folk music. Acoustic guitar, mellow melodies, some vocal harmonies popping up here and there...these are common traits in all songs here (apart from the instrumentals, which obviously lack vocals). Adding to their previously defined folk platform are influences from country music, jazz and hard rock, and this is all brewed together in a manner and style common in the late 60's and early 70's; mellow rock psychedelic in mood; with a few forays into heavy psychedelic prog with some Black Sabbath leanings in style.
The sound and the style of the songs here, from the opening jazz-tinged, psychedelic exploration "Today", via the mellow, melancholic "Footsteps" to the lengthy mixed mellow and hard rock tune "Rest in Peace", this is a high quality trip back in time. Not everything in the sound is authentic; and the quality of production is sure as hell on a level few or none were able to achieve close to 40 years ago; but the album as a whole gives a really strong impression of being a work that could have been released back then.
And the songs and performances are good as well - with one exception, at least for me personally. After three stunning tunes opening this album, there's a change in vocal style that was less than charming. Away with nice, clear melodic vocals, enter light vocals with massive vibrato. It is a vocal style used quite a bit 40 years ago, so to that extent it is true to form here, but for me this vocal style is a negative factor on a release that apart form that aspect is impeccable.
I think people should check out this release though, and fans of mellow, psychedelic rock as they made it in the late 60's should find lots of interesting music on this release, especially those less critical of vocal performance and style than me.
My rating: 75/100