Our own introduction to the sonic ravages of the Swedish band Pissboiler came last fall, when we premiered a relentlessly oppressive, disturbingly trance-inducing track named “Cutters” from the band’s debut album, In the Lair of Lucid Nightmares, which was later released by Third I Rex. That unsparingly hopeless experience led us down into the full black depths of that album, but also back to the 26-minute side of Pissboiler’s split release with Develkuth from earlier in 2017, a track aptly named “Monolith of Depression”. And now we’re coming full circle.
In July, a new Pissboiler record will become available through the combined efforts of Third I Rex (UK), Weird Truth Productions (Japan), and Dying Sun Records (Netherlands). The name of this new EP, Att Med Kniv Ta En Kristens Liv, can be rendered in English as “To Take The Life Of A Christian With A Knife”.
Musically, the first three tracks chronicle an actual murder in which an old couple were stabbed to death in their beds, but not before the woman woke up and called 911. Samples used in the music come from the horrifying recording of her call, and the tracks move from the moment before (“En visa för elden”) to the murder itself (“Att Med Kniv Ta En Kristens Liv”), to the burning of the corpses (“Pt II – Ett avslut”).
But the new EP includes a fourth track after these, a re-mixed and re-mastered version of that previously released opus, “Monolith of Depression” — and that’s what we’re bringing you today, just to whet your morbid appetites for those three new songs.
Pissboiler don’t make things easy for their listeners, but after all, it’s a rare soul that experiences an easy life, and we all know what looms at the end, whether it comes suddenly and too soon or in labored gasps at the end of long decades. Either way, Pissboiler remind us, the funeral begins long before the blood stills and the breathing expires.
Twenty minutes is a long time to stay rooted in place for a single track, especially one as generally slow and atmospherically hopeless as “Monolith of Depression”. It is, therefore, a testament to Pissboiler’s dire talents that this titanic track becomes so enthralling — a ceaselessly circling whirlpool of mesmeric doom that pulls the listener down into an ever-enveloping blackness.
They move the intensity needle back and forth, beginning with the spaciousness of slow reverberating chords and notes, the shimmer of backing ambient sound, the rumble of distant thunder, a distorted speaking voice, an occasional drum and cymbal blast. The drummer eventually latches onto a primal rhythm — and there are other repeating sequences in the song that pound relentlessly, with gargantuan heaviness, visceral force, and a feeling of freezing cold.
Bellows of desolation and shrieks of pain come and go, as do terrifically distorted and enormously grievous riffs, as well as heart-aching laments and melodies of shattering despair. At the end, we become witness to what sounds like a titanic demolition machine, extinguishing the last vestiges of hope or clarity.
How such vivid, unnerving portrayals of emotional devastation could be so captivating, so physically arresting and mentally entrancing, is a question that’s difficult to answer in words. There’s no adequate substitute for simply experiencing it. It’s well worth the time, because this is a masterful amalgam, of funeral doom, sludge, and drone that won’t leave you in the same place where it finds you.
Pre-order Att Med Kniv Ta En Kristens Liv via the links below (Third I Rex is also offering a bundle of the new record with the band’s first album, In The Lair Of Lucid Nightmares).