Sonisk Blodbad: Dark Spring (2012)
(I did the cover art and contributed some drums and percussion)
Multi-national band SONISK BLODBAD started out as a Norwegian duo that made their debut with the single “Blue Room” in 2011. Since then they have expanded in members and nationalities both, and it is as a foursome they released their initial album “Dark Spring” in March 2012 on what appears to be their own label: Inner Robotic Records.
The music of Sonisk Blodbad comes in two different flavours if this album can be trusted as evidence: Either dark and ominous or sad and mournful. One exception aside the style is an electronic one, with ambient and cinematic as descriptive keywords. Not ambient as in Gandalf and Vangelis, but rather ambient as in the complete opposite of what these artists normally produce. Vangelis has touched upon similar atmospheres on occasion admittedly, first and foremost when he crafted the soundtrack for Blade Runner, but Sonisk Blodbad’s excursions are of a substantially different nature even so.
The opening four pieces are the darkest one by this outfit, at least so far. The resonating, oscillating and otherwise computer and machine like sounds of “Sonisk Blodbad” not directly so perhaps, but due to a swirling recurring sound that made me recall classic computer game Paradroid I got the dark mood by association on this one. But from “Somewhere Along the Line” through “Det Er Ingen Teatertriks” we’re treated to a trio of tracks that embrace the dark side of ambient oriented electronic music. And brilliantly so I might add. The most impressive amidst these twinkling black gems “Koffår Svikta Du”, a remixed version of “Varför Svek Du” that appear later on. This remixed edition opens with the subtly fluctuating light toned synth motif of the original piece, slowly invaded and taken over by a succession of darker, twisted and eerie sounds that manage to create an almost frightening atmosphere. Despite nothing really dramatic taking place. An unnerving audio experience if you like, and as far as ambient music goes this is stuff that will inspire to nightmares. The brooding, mournful creations before and after are perfect companion pieces to such an excursion, encapsulating the opening half of this production in an almost oppressive yet compelling dark electronic coating.
Title track “Dark Spring” kicks of a somewhat less intense part of this production, where minimalistic constructions that are less oppressive and somewhat lighter in spirit are given room. Not that any of them are bright and positive, but the mood associations are limited to those of sadness and mourning now, at least to my ears, and the brooding, ominous undercurrents and effects are used less extensively if at all. Easier to enjoy compositions, and easiest of them all, arguably, is the remixed version of their previous single “Blue Room”. In this version sporting dance friendly rhythms and a distinct development towards a 1970’s inspired psychedelic rock expression as far as style is concerned. But this track is the exception on this half of “Dark Spring”, the other pieces more distinct and thorough exercises within a minimalistic context. The tile track itself is an interesting one, a subtly fragmented sad cinematic journey backed by light toned bird-like sounds. But also a creation that given a lighter tonal range and violins rather than synthesizers most likely would have been experienced as vibrant and joyful.
If you’re in the mood for an album of mostly dark ambient music, ranging from the sad and mournful to the ominous and somewhat oppressive mood-wise, Sonisk Blodbad is a band to get more familiar with. And their debut “Dark Spring” is a quality evidence of just how far removed from new age electronic music can be whilst still maintaining a cinematic, mostly melodic expression.
My rating: 85/100
1. Sonisk Blodbad
2. Somewhere Along The Line
3. Koffår svikta du? (Remixed)
4. Det er ingen teatertriks
5. Dark Spring
6. Varför svek du?
7. Blue Room (Remixed)
8. Cold Winter