One man Black Metal projects can be a worrying thing. No band members to say “Hang on a minute is that not a bit self indulgent” or “The Nazis were actually a bit shit”. On the other hand a lack of hangers on gives more focus for the passion of the one man band. Sweden’s Plutonium is the brain child of Carlsson and here he presents the world his third full length since 2003.
This is fast paced, industrialised Black Metal. Fans of Sayricon, DHG and Thorns will lap this up like blackened gravy. I did.
The title track bursts in with some blistering industrialised Black Metal – think Thorns Stellar Master Elite but with Bontempi drums which melts into eerie prog before blast beasts erupt like blackened pus. Good lord! “Cortex Vortex” (sounds like a Marvel baddie) opens with a minute of frantic kvlt riffing before taking a breath and diving back into it. At seven and a half minutes there are plenty of tempo changes in this one before the stark drums of “The Inverted Panopticon Experience” begin. (This album is not one for the tongue tied or drunken stage announcer). A martial ditty from the void this one, the vocals are mechanical , almost Dalek like without becoming a parody however 6 mins of the same can either be a mesmeric escape or a reach for the forward button. I dug it and I was just grooving along when the blunt edit that Channel 4 would have been proud of cut the track dead. Hmm way to kill the moment!
“Casque Strength” is back up to speed with a bit of Age of Nero era Satyricon before dropping a Tom G grunt and a groovy hook. There is even what sounds like a slide guitar at one point as things get a little other worldly and the vocals take a Quorthorn twist and the song ends at a gallop.
What comes next is a bit of a surprise. By track 5 I thought I had the measure of Plutonium. They mix up the influences and bang out some damn fine mech BM. “The Masque of the Green Demon” could be a doom track until the raspy vocals begin half way in – not quite enough bass but some damn fine headbobbing riffs within. If that was a surprise then the frankly unpronounceable “Renuntiationem” with whispered vocals and an acoustic guitar is another swift change – this is like the Mr Ben of Kvlt here! It works though. There is a folky vibe without going all flute and faeries which suits this fella. Just as I am thinking of going Skyclad and spinning round my garden with taffeta scarves wrapped round my wrists the fury returns. “Electric Barbed Wire Crown of Thorns” (blimey!) brings back the blasts and riffs with plenty to squeeze invisible oranges to. There is a 2 minute instrumental interlude with a silly name before “Confessions of a Suicidal Cryptologist” brings the whole kvlt and caboodle to a close with a delicious hellish trifle of noise incorporating guitar solos , proggy sections and hyperblast . Bloody good on em!
I like this band. The album cover and inlay is like Uncle Fester after weight watchers and the song titles are convoluted but they are fucking great. Horns ablaze, headwhipping, demon claw clenching METAL! Give it a whirl.
(7/10 Matt Mason)