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Apathy, crunchy guitars and narcotic misery... - 90%

ODIR, January 7th, 2007

First of all, this record almost deserves a 100 just for creating something out of the ordinary. This record may, as a result of this, not appeal to the average black metal fanatic expecting another "Panzerfaust" version 20001. Consequently, I am unsure wether this should be labeled black metal at all, as it draws influences from several different genres. The black metal influence is, in my opinion, more present in the mood, lyrics, atmosphere and attitude than in the actual riffing and song structuring. As for describing the music, it sounds a bit like The Cure meets Ved Buens Ende and Woods of Infinity with a touch of indie pop (Swedish Kent comes to mind, to be honest).

The album starts off with one of the better songs on the record; "Nackskott", telling quite an abstract story of alienation, disgust towards modern society's reigning norms, and finally, blowing "innocent" people to their doom. The guitar sound is crunchy and catchy, maintaining a 60's rock vibe. This guitar tone is present in most songs on the album, sometimes layered with rather heavy fuzz. The bass and drums (drum machine) doesn't hold a special place on the album, and neither do they really need to. This is, as you probably understand, all about the expression and the atmosphere, not musical show-offs. In other words, there are no shred solos or Dream Theater type riffing present at all.

As the album continues the songs - in my experience - gets more and more melancholic and, lyrically misanthropic (of course this is difficult to see without speaking Swedish). Songs such as Söndag and Vardagsnytt describes gloomy feelings of suburban desolation, while Herrens Hand (containing my favorite lyrics) details suicidal, almost schizophrenic thoughts about a depression with no exit in sight, and its grim consequence. M/S Salmonella has the trademark black metal tremolo picking, accompanied by a sombre piano passage that blends in perfectly with the music.

What essentially makes this album so interesting is the blend of metal, rock and sheer narcotic madness. You clearly don't need to play Norwegian style 90's black metal to express the feelings present on this album.

As for negative remarks... Well, this is a debut album, and you can hear it. The sound quality is not very bad, it works fine, but there's no doubt it'd sound much better with a more polished sound, as the music itself is not of the kind that "benefits" from lesser quality. There are also two "interludes", namely Avbrott Sex and Medicinmannen, which I honestly can't grasp or understand the point of. And there are some scattered samples throughout the records which at times seem irrelevant to the lyrics of the song (except for the sample on Herrens Hand, which is quite fitting).

These issues are minor though, and makes me wonder just how potentially great the sophomore album can be (for those wondering, THR will be responsible for the next release).

The few points stated above takes away the solid 100% score, but originality in these days of copycat black metal bands and the metalcore plague evidently pays off, and this is, in my eyes, one of the top releases of 2006.