Angst Skvadron - Sweet Poison
Agonia Records
Progressive Black Metal
10 songs (40:30)
Release year: 2010
Agonia Records
Reviewed by Charles
Album of the month
The cover of this album is a spiky blue orb, looking very much like a Dr. Who villain from the 1970s, and against all the odds it seems to perfectly sum up this immensely 21st century black metal band. Angst Skvadron’s first album lived up admirably to their retro sci-fi presentation with its gloriously parping synths and Close Encounters of the Third Kind musical references. Such a distinctive fusion of black metal and surreal keyboard adventuring as attempted on Flukt was both brave and wonderful, and here again the band takes an ever-curious, ever referential and knowing step further. In the meantime, of course, we’ve had Urgehal’s (whose frontman is a key part of this project) last album; an immensely enjoyable blast of straightforward black metal that was streaked through with rock and roll breeziness. Whilst Sweet Poison veers wildly over towards the more experimental end of the blackened spectrum, the same sense of hedonism remains unbowed, tempered by an amazing knack for genuinely sweet instrumentals (such as the closing title track).

I mean, I say experimental, but this is as accessible as anything you’ll find in this corner of the music world, because its weirdness is so charming. To summarise their sound, Angst Skvadron typically deal in black metal of an intriguing sort; the riffs are sometimes brooding and “post”-y, sometimes slamming, and often with a head-nodding rock sensibility akin to a bit more of an indie Khold. But what really characterises what they do is the vivid and unpredictable extra elements that get hurled at it like one of those paintings where the artist just throws buckets of brightly coloured paint onto a canvas laid out on the floor. Like Flukt, this is very sci-fi, but I detect a bit of esoteric horror reverence sneaking in here as well. The cartoonish, ghost-train “wooh-ooh”s, and tolling bells, that add a totally twisted character to grooving opener Valium Holocaust would be the most perfect accompaniment for a Dario Argento film circa Opera, and this is to make no mention of the Suspiria-aping jingly bells at the end of Aerophobia.

It can be really sensational. Fucking Karma, despite its average length, feels really epic, as it winds its way cunningly from kooky opening (a percussive tick-tock jamming with mock-sinister Scooby Doo sound effects) to thuddingly metallic lumbering, with the latter given a sense of drama by the warbling opera voices that lurk up above it. In and out it goes, from change of mood to change of mood, never losing its sense of mystery and never being anything less than riveting. On Dolcontine Blues, they reference the same Grieg melody that Tyr used to epic effect on their album Land, but here it is less elegant, and more surreal, floating electronically from what sounds like a mellotron in a rumbling dirge reminiscent of Morte Macabre. The list of things going on is immense, from the peaceful electronics of We Miss Them which comes very close to sounding like the excellent Zombi, to the aggressive, almost techy black metal riff-fest of The Eyes Among Stars which squirms into oppressive ambience a bit like Blut Aus Nord.

Keeping in mind that we’ve just seen the release of Ihsahn’s latest, 2010 has already spoilt lovers of experimental black metal.

Killing Songs :
Fucking Karma, Valium Holocaust
Charles quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Angst Skvadron that we have reviewed:
Angst Skvadron - Flukt reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
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