Breaking up sections of dark, doomy stoner-metal with a flute solo is a pretty bold move. But it’s one that tells you a lot about brand new Estonian metal band Pharmer.
The quartet of Joonas Hokkonen (bass), Laur Lindmäe (guitar/vocals), Martin Sildoja (drums) and Olle Nõmm (lead guitar) hail from the small of Pärnu, in the south-west of Estonia.
They released their debut song Poseidon on 1 August, and it’s one hell of an introduction to the band. Low bassy noises open up then a big throaty scream takes over alongside a cool bouncy, doomy riff that continues under the vocals “Live through my visions, Your world’s gonna end in tides, Washed away, cleansed from filth, The next Atlantis will be made out of lies.”
That flows into a chorus of “Did you come here to die? What have you made out of your life? Come on and open your eyes, Witness your own demise,” as Laur’s guttural vocals continue alongside the intoxicating stoner riffs building in intensity.
A huge second chorus ends on chugging guitars then a little flourish of the opening riff, which then continues under a laid-back solo. The guitars suddenly take a backseat as the unthinkable happens – a flute solo within a metal song. The guitars return, almost enraged at such an occurrence, with chugging chords under ferocious screamed vocals to bring the track to an end.
Poseidon is awesome, and we’re excited to hear more from Pharmer soon. Give it a listen below:
We had a chat with frontman Laur to find out more about the unusual-sounding formation of the band and the very odd-sounding circumstances that inspired Poseidon. Read on below…
GR: What’s the background to Pharmer?
LL: “My parents have a private clinic and most of the time me and my brother were hanging out and jamming in a very tight storage room full of needles, fake tits and all the other good stuff. Joonas came up with the name – which I think has a nice agricultural tone to it, and it also has that pharmaceutical meaning – so it perfectly fits the stoner music and refers back to the band’s starting point.
“When we had about five songs we needed a drummer, so I contacted my friend Martin. I have played with him in countless of projects prior so he was comfortable enough to join us instantly. For a few years, we were a three-piece, we just played at house-parties and local venues, didn’t take ourselves too seriously and had a lot of fun.
“As our music evolved I started feeling that I couldn’t perform my vocals the way I wanted, my mind was too occupied with playing riffs and solos non-stop, I didn’t have enough focus on the vocals. So I needed a scapegoat to take over my more technical parts and leave me the rhythm section. Fortunately, I knew the most badass shredder in town, Olle Nőmm.
“When Olle joined the band I thought instantly that the band is complete. Although it took time to remake the guitar parts and finish the songs with two guitars, I finally had the freedom that I longed for. I think my vocals have improved a lot, and the band sounds thicker and heavier than ever.”
GR: Sounds awesome. You just released Poseidon, which gives us a taste of that. What should people be expecting from the song?
LL: “Dark riffs, pissed-off vocals… And a flute solo. I wrote this song about a dream that I had. I saw huge tidal waves ripping out the skyscrapers from the ground. Tsunamis just eating the cities, whales falling down from the sky like meteorites. Everything just ended in watery darkness and it felt like we deserved it.
“It was heavy, and beautiful at the same time, just like this song. Or maybe I made that entirely up and just wrote about the world and the end as I see it. You may never know.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
LL: “Pharmer is a ruthless stoner-metal beast that takes no prisoners and knows no boundaries. Uncompromising, crushing wall of sound.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
LL: “The writing for me is mostly about some trippy stuff, dreams, drugs, the Wizard of Oz etc… Also, we have songs inspired by books, or everyday life and darker situations.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
LL: “Looking at our genre, there is no way I’m not going to mention Black Sabbath. So Black Sabbath is a huge influence. Also modern giants like High on Fire, Mastodon and Red Fang.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
LL: “Right now we are writing new material, we have a plan to start gigging this Fall. The next plan for us is to record an EP or a full-length.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
LL: “If you like heavy, doom inspired music, check out Poseidon. And if you like it, stick around, we might have something more coming for you.”