It's been seven years since Seattle troubadour Mark Lanegan released Bubblegum and whilst this time has been spent collaborating to great acclaim with the likes of Isobel Campbell, Greg Dulli (The Gutter Twins) and Soulsavers, as well as touching base with erstwhile cohorts Queens of the Stone Age, for devotees of Lanegan's work there’s nothing quite like the dark majesty of his solo output. His newest offering Blues Funeral, recorded with Alain Johannes and guest players including Josh Homme and Jack Irons, is therefore hotly anticipated by fans (of varying degrees of rabidity) and critics alike.

The album opens with the explosive and furious 'The Gravedigger’s Song', laden with frenetic tom rolls and pulsing bass that twist and drive Lanegan's menacing baritone towards a hard-rock cliff at 100 miles an hour. It's a truly visceral statement of intent that stands up as one of his most rocking tunes to date.

Although there’s plenty of the trademark Lanegan darkness, Blues Funeral is an album of many colours and textures. Influences from his recent collaborations are evident, such as on the haunting blues stomp of 'Bleeding Muddy Water' and the techno-synth jam of the albums closing track 'Tiny Grain of Truth' that both echo the amorphous ambience of his recent work with Soulsavers. But there are also unexpected curveballs like a Dandy Warhols-style pop hook on 'Quiver Syndrome' that shows Lanegan can still lift his head above the gloom to deliver a big chorus when it's required.

In fact, far from echoing the funereal sentiments of the album’s title, this is a piece of work that seeks to push new boundaries and reinvent the Lanegan blueprint. There is a more extensive use of drum-loops as the melodic centre of some of the songs, and even some Beatles-esque vocal-trickery on the psychedelic slow-jazz of 'Leviathan', a stand-out track on the album with a gorgeously elongated and multilayered vocal outro refrain.

Seven years is certainly a long time to wait, but in this case it’s a wait that has been thoroughly worthwhile, as one of grunge’s most iconic vocalists has delivered an album of truly impressive variety, power and quality.