Mårran are a traditional rock band out of Sweden, playing only the most barebones, no-frills hard rock possible. They take their name from the Groke, a Swedish character from the Moomins, who is a ghostly figure constantly in search of warmth and light, and yet able to achieve neither due to her innate coldness, freezing all that comes into contact with her. Wait, hold up a moment, that's fucking depressing. Whose bright idea was it to name a band after her again? Their 2012 self-titled release is their debut.
For a band named after such a demoralizing character, the music is surprisingly light-hearted (Well, at least from what I can glean, anyway—I don't speak Swedish). The songs are definitely upbeat, and they harken back to the 70s emerging heavy metal sound, with just a dash of modern alt rock thrown in for good measure. Expect tons of hard-hitting riffs, anthemic choruses, powerful drumming, and incredibly boss soloing. "Gärdesbrud" in particular has some juicy tradeoff and interplay between the organ and guitar, and the solo in "Del av mitt liv" shows of some of their more tender guitar moments.
Accordingly, there's also a clear blues rock influence in their work. Tracks like "Än sen" and "Syster blå (trollpolska från Älvdalen)" definitely reflect the slowed down and pensive nature of early blues rock, with tons of bright electric organs thrown into the mix. And, of course, there are also some good ol' fashioned rock and roll moments, especially on "Folkvisa från Helvetet (om du dör för mig)," which sounds like the Nordic lovechild of REO Speedwagon and Boston. "Gånglåt från Zinken" is another fantastic track, closing the album on a perfectly strong note with unrestrained rocking, and "Sockerflicka" has a main riff that I can only describe as "sick."
Truth be told, there isn't really anything bad about their music, though the lack of any true originality is lamentable. The music is all very cut-and-pasted from all of the bands that have come before them, so it's nothing that will surprise or shock you. That being said, it's still very enjoyable to listen to, and even if you're a silly American monoglot like myself, you're not going to be missing out on much with the lyrics.
There's nothing really objectionable here, though Mårran would certainly benefit from taking a few steps outside of the box. If all you want is some barebones hard rock, then Mårran certainly will not disappoint. More temperamental folks searching for a more thoughtful release may want to look elsewhere.
6.5 / 10
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