Company: Locomotive Records
Palatable art out of incessant negativity
Hardy har har, clever title. But savor that bit of dodgy humor in the title, as it's pretty much the only sign of positive emotion you'll get from this album.
Two years after their last album, Diabolic Symphony, these Swedish merchants of moroseness are back, with a new lineup and somewhat streamlined, simplified version of the dark, imposing and grandiose vibe of that album. Carpe DiEnd is a particularly anguished collection of tunes, hermetically sealed in a cloak of darkness that allows pretty much no inlet for hope or optimism. Every song seems to serve but one purpose, that purpose being to darken your world and drown your spirits via Ronny Hemlin's consistently pained vocal delivery and lyrics, coupled with simple, dark riffs and melodies. Bass and drums reinforce this vibe of ever-escalating tension, doing little of note but crashing and pounding incessantly in a musical morass that manages to come across as muddy, chaotic and ugly despite a fairly clean recording.
And while the majority of the album revels in an emotionally punishing mix of rote chugging rhythms and the aforementioned vocal anguish, the trio of tracks beginning with "For Whom I Bleed?" somehow strikes me as a particularly harrowing listening experience. "Crawl" does much the same, but takes things just a little too far by comparison. And yet, while there is much that is unpleasant about this album-not to mention a few utterly forgettable tracks (like "Holy is Evil")--there is something I find strangely captivating about this album. Hard to say what that is, but while I tend to avoid playing this album due to its overwhelming doom and gloom, doing so does yield a few painful pleasures. And while I did not particularly warm to Diabolic Symphony despite its slightly proggier, more adventurous style (something I normally welcome), somehow, this album made a better impression on me, even if my tastes would typically dictate otherwise. I guess you could say that Carpe DiEnd finds Steel Attack accomplishing what so many gothic acts seem to try for, making almost palatable art out of incessant negativity and thematic bleakness. If this sounds like an enjoyable listening experience to you, then by all means partake. Me, I'm just too creeped out by this album to do anything with it but lay down and avoid most of the time.