The name of Eufori’s new album — Humörsvängningar — is a mouthful of a tongue-twister for those of us who don’t speak Swedish or any other Scandinavian language. To understand how it is pronounced, you can hear the word spoken at this page. And if you were to google the word in an effort to understand its meaning in English, you would find definitions that refer to rapid or inexplicable “mood swings”, sometimes in the context of mental instability brought on by stress, drugs, problems sleeping, or disorders of various kinds.
Of course, you need not understand the album’s title in order to follow the sense of the music, but understanding it may lead to a deeper appreciation of what you will hear — and hear it you can, at the end of this post.
By the way, if you’re in a googling mood, you can also look up the word “eufori”, and will likely find that its English equivalent is “euphoria” — a strong feeling of happiness or intoxication. But don’t forget the name of the album….
Humörsvängningar is the first full-length by Eufori. It includes three songs originally released as an EP earlier this year (Värdelös — which means “useless”) and five more. It will be released on September 30 by Black Lion Records. While Eufori may be a new name to many, the band consists of two men (Livsnekaren and Mortuz-Denatus) who have also been members of Mist of Misery, whose new album Absence we reviewed and premiered last month. They claim inspiration from the likes of Lifelover, Shining, Hypothermia, Nocturnal Depression, Pig, Hank III, and Vanhelga.
Not long ago I wrote about the album’s opening track “Avgrund”, along with a previously released instrumental track named “Insikt”. Taken together, those songs reveal an interesting juxtaposition of contrasting sounds — even something like a mood swing. The slightly distorted riffs and slow guitar melodies in the former, and the bounding piano chords in the latter, are spare but immediately engaging; together, they are both depressive and bright, tear-soaked and warm. The vocals in “Afgrund” are the kind of harsh, skin-scraping cries that bespeak grief and agony; in “Insikt” you hear muttering, of a kind that suggests a disturbance. As different as they are, both songs are entrancing.
The other tracks on the album are also explorations of changing mood… and sometimes the changes are jarring. “Det är fan inte värt”, for example, moves quickly from a slow and morose beginning to a galloping, punk romp with a bright, shimmering guitar melody (with gritty vocals) — and then it continues to alternate between these two very different sounds. The title track begins with a sorrowful yet seductive strummed melody and moves into a slow, sublime guitar solo; the song flows like a drifting stream dappled by sun through the deep shadow of overhanging trees (with a layering of spoken words and impassioned yells). But the very next song, “Inget mer”, moves immediately to the more urgent tempo of a backbeat and double-bass, with tormented vocal harshness juxtaposed against a hook-laden guitar melody. Yet even within “Inget mer”, the music changes, slowing and becoming folk-influenced — and heart-aching.
More changes lie around the bends of the dark river that flows through this album. Eufori have composed striking, emotionally evocative, immediately memorable guitar (and piano) melodies that wait around each turn, together with a lot of vocal variety beyond even what I’ve described so far, and of course many gradations in mood. Fans of Lifelover in particular should be drawn to what they have accomplished here, though the album’s attractions are also to be found in the ways they branch off from the depressive/suicidal black metal that forms the album’s backbone. Not only that, but the way in which the songs are arranged on the album makes the trip through it from start to finish a fascinating and moving journey. (And don’t miss Eufori’s wonderful cover of Vanhelga’s “Låt snön falla”, lodged just before the closing song.)
I keep coming back to the word “entrancing”, because that seems to me to sum up the album as well as its title. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
To pre-order Humörsvängningar, go here: