Monday, February 22, 2010

Ättestupa - 1867 [DNT]

Coming totally out of left field, DNT brings this Swedish crew overseas to share their blackened, famine-inspired racket and I'm digging it. The full page insert is all in Swedish I presume so I'm letting the music do the talking and it's whispering unsettling things.
"Missväxt," the first of three tracks on the 45rpm LP, starts the record off in fierce, serrated fashion. There's bad vibes from across the spectrum at work here. There's a heavy dose of noise (whether it stems from harsh noise or Big Black is anyone's guess) and live percussion that plays like a meat packing plant but what really makes the jam so killer is an even heavier dose of Jesus Lizard-esque loping, dead-eyed intensity. The groaning vocalist is so deep in despair he isn't even trying to be heard above the din. The band establishes the structure of the jam right off the bat and then builds it continually into a greater and greater cacophony until it can't support itself any longer and lapses into weird gnarled loops. It's great; maximum cerebral blastitude or whatever. "Halshuggarnatten" begins with an instrumental intro with some rather nice organ juxtaposed with crunchy percussion loops. Minimal, measured drumming and lethargic vocals enter turning the song into a bizarre, queasy, slo-motion flurry. The seasick vibes continue onto "Storsvagåret" which takes up the full b-side. A whirring organ produces a series of bent-out-of-shape pitches over distorted clanks and whatnot. This section continues for a little bit until Ättestupa shift into a deliberate trash rock stomp, lead by the organ. There's a phenomenal counter-melody with a music box/toy piano timbre that really seals it for me, though it's nearly crushed by the blown out drums. It's totally unexpected and heightens the sinister mood with its duplicitous, "good-natured" melody. For some reason this piece seems even more zoned out than the other side. A continual bleary-eyed trudge through a smoldering nightmare world. That is until the track begins to smolder itself, cannibalizing itself with static-laden, manipulated loops. Excuse me while I flip the record back over.
I'm not totally sure how to classify this, they've got their fingers in a couple different cookie jars. Noise rock is the most inclusive tag you could give it, but there definitely seems to be some inspiration in noise, drone and not-shitty industrial music, particularly for atmosphere. I've never really heard such elements combined in this way, or least they haven't achieved such an effect. The effect, I would vaguely define as, inescapable dread without fear. Something is rotten in Sweden, for sure.
Still in print and limited to 330.

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