GriftIn a weird case of synchronicity, as I decided what reviews were next in line to go up and sat down to write this one up to join them, I noticed that one of this duo is also a member of Flagellant whose new album ‘Maledictum’ is here for you to read about too. The drummer J Hallback of this Swedish act who bridges the gap between the two groups is joined by Perditor who basically provides vocals and plays everything else. Rather than the fast raging tumult of Flagellant the four tracks on this MCD are much more subtle as the duo go for a reflective melancholic vibe which is lyrically tied in by its native language with some of the metaphors of Sweden’s most famous poets. Of course unless you speak the language and are well versed in such things you too would have needed to have that pointed out to you but it does add depth to the music and the themes which deal with “mans’ insignificance and everything unimaginable before Death’s triumph.”

This is mature stuff, perhaps a clue about that is given away by the cover; this church is not aflame! I get the feeling that this is more to do with being respectful about traditions rather than destroying and vandalising them. The ‘four elegies’ of the title start with ‘Dödens dåd’ and what can only be described as a slow devilish, folk etched piece of violin strumming which really sets the mood and builds things up. From there a heavyset and weighty focus takes over with a powerful melodic emphasis from the instrumentation and gravid rasping vocals. It’s got a mid-pace flow to it that although only cantering rather than being at full gallop still sweeps you off your feet and there’s a rich and somewhat foreboding vibe about it all. I am reminded a little of both Kampfar and Loits as we go into the second slower track ‘Förtappelsens folk.’ It’s just got that sort of feel about it that it is paying tribute to the past, the title translates roughly to ‘Perdition People’ and the heritage behind it to me shines through whilst the gruff and raw vocals urge the maudlin tones of the music along.

‘Den fångne’ (The Prisoner) is next through the gate, drawing you into things with an epic atmosphere that simply has me dreaming away at its melancholic grip. I kind of want to know what the prisoner has done here and if they are perhaps off for execution The last track is full of sorrow and it sounds like a knife is being sharpened over the music. Is the ‘Bortgång’ (Passing) the eulogy of that prisoner? Spoken word delivery of the vocals adds to the textures and this one really reminds a bit of other Swedish depressives like Lifelover without the quirky juxtaposition or even Shining without the insanity. On a whole this has done a great job of drawing me in and works as a complete piece of music but leaves me hungering for more and a future full length!

(Pete Woods 8/10)