Cryptic Rock

We welcome you to open your eyes to a most secretive order, one formed by doomsday contractors, misunderstood scientists, and occultists who, to preach the truth about the forces of darkness that surround us all, have chosen the most dangerous form of art: Hard Rock. Enter Svarta Sanningar and the Kapitel 1 EP, which arrives to digital platforms on Friday, November 30, 2018, to divulge some black truths to your waiting ears. Prepare yourself!

Svarta Sanningar translates to “Black Truths,” a fitting title for an ominous group with quite the backstory. Led by Klas Bohlin of Beseech and also featuring Håkan Carlsson, the band’s mysterious tale of darkness begins in November 1977, just outside of Gothenburg, Sweden. Theirs is a conspiracy theory forty-one years in-the-making, full of screams, horror, and devilry that have given rise to ritual killings, company scandals, and dirty deals. Now, according to their words of wisdom, the fall of mankind is nearly upon us and we must distance ourselves from religion and embrace death as a new way of life.

Today, Svarta Sanningar is funded by a black-listed corporation (Atrays Medical), a pharmaceutical manufacturer that also dabbles in psychedelics and post-apocalyptic action strategies. Understanding that, in this bleak new world, humanity is an endangered species, Atrays have taken a bold new perspective and are searching for solutions in modern parapsychology and necromancy. Together with Svarta Sanningar, the two entities are stepping into a darker state-of-mind, seeking the ability to see into the future, far beyond scientific hypotheses and religious prophecies. Of course, there is a resistance to their work, and not all agree that Svarta Sanningar are bringing good into this world.

Under such circumstances, Svarta Sanningar present their first exhibit of evidence, the Kapitel 1 EP. The result of a séance that took place during a November 2017 research conference, Kapitel 1 (Chapter One) proves that it is time to realize the power of the Pentagram (Pentagrammet), and the Demon (Demonen) must be brought to life. While there are risks in performing after-death experiments (Experimentet), and primitive methods such as necromancy (Nekromantik) can be the key to life, death is our given path.

Kapitel 1’s message begins with some fine-fingered guitar work that leads the charge into “Pentagrammet,” where Bohlin’s vocals go silky and conspiratorial as he sings of black truths, spilling blood, and the strength conferred to us from the Pentagram. It’s an addictive, wonderfully melodic sound – even if you’re not a native Swedish speaker. Next, a melancholy church organ weaves throughout “Demonen.” Here, acoustics and gentle electronics help to create a seductively soft appreciation for The Demon, who leaves nothing behind. Be careful, my friends, because the love of darkness can drag you down!

They continue this down-tempo, meandering approach and go into heavy storytelling with “Experimentet” (“The Experiment”). This is a dark tale, one that sees a failed experiment raising the dead so that zombies are walking the street and “the dead are at your door.” It’s somber, it’s spooky, and it’s the heart of the Svarta Sanningar story. Ultimately, it paves the way for the wall of sound to increase tenfold and usher in the final offering, “Nekromantic.” A tale of toying with black magic to alter the natural world, “Necromancy” even confesses: “Returning from the dead might be dangerous, there’s no warranty!

It is into this darkly supernatural world that Svarta Sanningar introduce their journey, one that is guaranteed to be full of melancholia, doom and gloom, all set to melodically languid sonics that will entrance you as you slip beneath the veil between our world and that of the Black Truths. That said, you have to give the band credit for guaranteeing that their concept and song titles, while performed in beautiful Swedish, still translate easily to their English-speaking audience; which makes their craft more palatable, even to xenoglossophobes. Thoughtful, intelligent, beautifully performed and haunting, Cryptic Rock give Svarta Sanningar’s Kapitel 1 EP 5 of 5 stars.