In the CD booklet photo, Robert Andersson isn't wearing a dress, but he does appear gussied up like a woman. That
could be a good sign, because many of the best artists are crazy as fuck. Their debut album, Sleepers in the Rift
, rocked out pretty good. It seemed to have been influenced from old school Florida death metal. Some of those tracks seemed to mock the dead, with a bizarre sense of humor. That
album was released on Pulverised Records from Singapore. This new album was released on Century
Media Records and their website says to always expect the unexpected with this album. So will the musical textures set us up for sinister double crosses?
It's unclear who did the album art, but the album cover depicts someone who is levitating up into stormy clouds. Throughout the booklet each track is illustrated with a painting to characterize the story behind the songs. They appear as mystifying as the pictures on a deck of tarot cards. Robert Andersson is a prolific and versatile artist himself. He is the vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and wrote all of the songs except for Aurora
in the Offing; which was written by lead guitarist Aftonfalk and Andersson.
is a bizarre concept album about a supernatural nightmare. The album starts with a hypnotic lullaby, that goes with eerie fluttering guitar rhythms, that are played sort of like old fashioned blues rock. Then the music abruptly changes into dark death metal, as unexpectedly as a killer busting out of your closet. The vocals manifest with a shocking shriek. Robert Andersson yells and screams his lines like a psychotic man, who is being hopelessly tortured with fire. The devious death metal rhythms shift sarcastically to set up catchy guitar hooks, that stutter intricately with a typical Scandinavian style. Aurora
in the Offing starts with a super dark melody like background music for a horror movie. Shredding at a faster pace, it then goes to a light yet intricate melody, and closes with slow acoustic guitar picking. The electric guitar music isn't very distorted. It's never crunchy, without any grinding, and absolutely no crust. But it does display some mysterious doom textures, from time to time.
starts with the mellow guitar strumming of evil melodies, to set the shade for another dreaded nightmare scenario. Then it picks up speed with rambling electric guitar music and dark shredding. The lyrics are about the terror of crossing unsafe bridges, that lead up into stormy skies, with the guidance of a ghostly presence. The painting for this track depicts a small human figure crossing a tall ramshackle bridge. Where the planks are spread apart about one or two feet, while the human figure is touching the index finger of a large white hand.
The music is mainly punctuated by the vocals and sometimes with the guitars. The drumming sounds professional, but it just seems to go with the flow, instead of maximizing it's character with killer solos. In the mellow songs, Landin plays like a jazz drummer. During the more energetic songs, he beats the drums harder, with some drum rolls, and mild cymbal crashes. Beyond Life
's Sealed Abode
starts with a heavy metal style, then gets melodic and kind of dreamy, like something that people zonked out on pain medication might enjoy. Then acrobatic melodies transpire with some subdued guitar screeching. The drums play along with some occasional snare rolls. Then a tortured soul comes in screaming and shrieking about his ordeal. The lyrics are about seeing an open spot in the clouds, which is regarded as an entrance up into heavens floor. Then he flies up through astral projection towards his goal.
The bass music has little distortion and ranges from light, to moderately heavy. It goes through the motions, by following suit with the nuances of the guitar intensity, and gives it some structural integrity during the heavier outbreaks of activity. Terminus features slow and heavy bass lines, which is melodic yet chaotic like an early heavy metal ballad. Then it goes into light acoustic guitar picking, with mysterious melodies like Umbra Nihill
. It's long drawn out, not too spectacular, and gets tiresome. There aren't any lyrics to this last track. The artwork for this song shows a man who has just flown up through the top cloud. The painting on the backside of the booklet depicts a small human figure who flies through an old fashioned pocket watch. So he must have woke up from bed and soon realized that it was just a nightmare.
The previous album, Sleepers in the Rift
, had a dark atmosphere. That
's probably the only mutual trait that it has in common with this new release. Sweven
doesn't display any bad ass guitar solos or technical riffs, and the bass lines don't have much punch. The lyrical themes are in no way humorous, as they are dsrk and suspenseful. Sweven
doesn't take on the death 'n' roll approach, as initially speculated. It seems to be regressing towards the direction of retro 1970's styled hard rock, with a dark twist. This seems to be a current trend in Europe
with bands like Ghost
, The Devil's Blood
, and recent Opeth
. But Sweven
sounds unique in comparison. It's guitar oriented music, with a lot of dark acoustic strumming, to make for slower eerie songs. About four tracks creep along, without a devious double cross. Like a killer who spends time watching people, but can't find a stranger to sweet talk, and charm into getting into his car. The Century
Media website warned us to always expect the unexpected on this release. I was expecting to hear more morbid metal action. So I guess that they were right.