Released: 2011, AFM Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Srodek is the one-man solo entity of Eldrit and Död, frontman Jon Bäcklund, who goes under the quaint moniker “Nekrofucker” while fronting Srodek. Srodek’s just released sophomore full length, FÖRFALL, is a collection of minimalist black metal that focuses more on texture and atmosphere than blazing riffs and unbridled speed. While it also relies on the smoke and mirrors of studio production for that texture and atmosphere, FÖRFALL ends up being a mixed bag of results that sets itself apart from much of the current black metal pack.
After a Burzum-esque synth intro, “Bleak” sets the tone for FÖRFALL. Bäcklund utilizes crisp and deliberate guitar lines to create imposing melodies that succeed in creating a melancholy musical terrain. The vocals, bass, and drums all sound like they were recorded in different counties and pieced together in the studio, which adds to the overall cold presentation of the material. The vast production landscape works to the benefit to the songs themselves, as they add an invisible layer of atmosphere to each track. Truth be told, if these songs were recorded by a full band with a Kevin Shirley type producer, it’d be painfully obvious how little there was going on. Songs like “Rotboskogens Djup” stand out with its doomed vibe, as does “Vågtjärns Svarta Vatten” with its upbeat bounce and vocal wailing.
Altogether, the base material on FÖRFALL is pretty standard fare and not irrevocably different than what you’ve heard before from the genre, it’s the way its assembled here that resonates with the listener. It’s a refreshing break from the “faster is better” ethos that surrounds so much of the underground black metal scene today, and allows for the songs to develop more of an identity with each listen. An outfit like Srodek likely won’t see the kind of publicity or distribution necessary to make an impact outside of Bäcklund’s native Sweden, but FÖRFALL is still a quality recording that should appeal to the diehard black metal crowd.