Artist: The Pete Flesh Deathtrip
Album: Svartnad

Year: 2016
Genrer: Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal,
Run time: 45 minutes
My rating: 5 out of 5

Svartnad is without any form of doubts one of the most anticipated releases for me, as I have patiently been longing for the day a releasedate would come to be announced. I had the greatest luck to separate myself from the mere mortals that have to await it's arrival in May from Critical Mass Recordings as I received the whole album in a digital format a couple of months before the physical release. I was well aware of that things have changed a bit since the release of "Mortui Vivos Docent"  2013, and from what I've heard it's a surprisingly positive change.

Just reading the adequately named  title "Svartnad" (Swedish for Blackened) predicts that things are about to get a whole lot darker , and even in a heavier sense. The first thing that should occure to anyone is that every thought of a second "Mortui" should immediately be wiped out from the sections of expectations, this album relocates the music from classic 90s melodic Death/Black Metal with an innovative touch to what have been perfectly baptized as Death Doom Blackened Metal, it might be a mouthful of a label but it really can´t be described in a more narrow or passable sentence. The differences are monumental but even through the new sound you will without a doubt recognize the TPFDT sound in some bits, but the compositions overall is more stable, structural and have a thin red line throughout, yet it's alot more complicated to get a hold off.

As a musician or an inveterate musiclover you sort of evolve an ear or a hunch over how structures in songs are build and your mind just flows with it when you are listening to the music, when you thread on a clear path in "Svartnad" the music can suddenly trip you to the ground as a sudden bridge just got built in the middle of a safe lane, it became pretty obvious even in the first track "In Ruinam Iniquitas" where the heavy doomladen arrangements gets abruptly severed by a ravishing trashpart and then leads us into a melodic Black/Death Metal passage, I got a little bit perplexed and had to rewind a couple of times as my intial thought was that it really didn´t fit together, but after the third time I realized that it was more than perfect, that ramification of three different genres in one transition set fire to a greater curiosity and it blended in splendidly.

Throughout the album the music leads you to new destinations and places, until it finally let´s you arrive to the end, and at the end all I wanted to do was to return and enjoy the journey again.
As I have so subtly pointed out there are definitily arrangements here that shouldn´t work, like in the beginning of the title track where it´s a melancholic melody that becomes emphasized by a piano interlude combined with a  thundering, marching, industrial like guitarchugs with militaristic beats in the background, imagine the beginning of Diabolicums song "March of the Misanthrope" combined with random calm part from Paradise Losts "Icon" or somewhere in that direction, and it still sounded amazing!

One other thing that surprised me is that there are no guest-artists on this recording, Peter Karlsson handles all the duties and it´s evident that on this album less is so much more, this time the position of the drums went to Henrik Borg (100 Years), Henrik also delivers some background vocals, make sure to be extra attentive to the deliverance of some excellent clean vocals in "Melting the Frost From Your Eyes".

A fatal attempt to compare "Svartnad" to something would probably be if you take Unanimated, Eucharist, Aeternus,  the albums of Hypocrisy from "The Fourth Dimension" to the selftitled one, later Forgotten Tomb, Candlemass, Early and a little bit of later Katatonia, Isole, Triptykon and throw in some death/trash ala Merciless and Maze of Torment and you might be somewhat close.

It's all delivered in a big sized, meaty production that makes everything more than coherrent, so in the end I don´t even have anything to be petty enough to complain about. "Svartnad" proved itself to be even more than I bargained for, it´s extremely wellmade, diverse, interesting, doomy and dark, but as Peter said in the interview I made with TPFDT in the second issue "Nothing can be complete darkness if you can´t find contrasts here and there" and this album does deliver a whole, wide spectrum of emotions, like a soulsearching journey through the more sombre parts.

One thing is for sure, "Svartnad" is a deep, emotional, abundant, personal album that sometimes takes the melancholy and molds it to something beautiful, and one other thing I´m sure of is that it is firmly placed at the top of my favourite albums of 2016.

I am rarely giving albums a perfect score but this one is definitely a 5/5! So do yourself a favour and purchase this obsidian gem right here: https://www.criticalmass.se/


Band members:
Peter "Pete Flesh" Karlsson - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Lyrics
Henke - Drums

Label: Critical Mass Recordings
Country: Sweden

Official: http://www.thepetefleshdeathtrip.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peteflesh