There’s something admirable in standing fast against powerful headwinds, even when the position may cause some to cringe.
Bob Malmström staked out their position long ago as the true originators and crowned kings of “borgarcore”, and they have taken delight since 2010 in jabbing their fingers into the eyes of standard “against the system” punk mentality by celebrating the benefits of Dom Perignon, lap dances by pretty girls, fast cars that can be run by you instead of over you, and favorable swings in the stock markets. Maintaining that position in recent years has gotten tougher, but these Swedish-speaking Finns haven’t backed down. In the context of their new EP Segla med Satan they write:
It’s 2022 and everything is going to hell. The stock market is tanking, the waves are full of poisonous algae porridge and in the east a mad tyrant force-feeds his brain virus to the people like a Frenchman force-feeds geese. The world is on the brink of an abyss…. Salvation is not what anyone expected, nor asked for, but it gives you the Zen to ski down the slopes of the Alps waving your middle fingers to the poor. We’re ready to rock the gold teeth out of your mouths.
Punk is for poor losers. Folk metal is for stupid losers. Bättre folk metal is for rich geniuses!
Photo by Jarno Hänninen
What makes this all tolerable even to those of us who recoil from the philosophy is, of course, the genre-bending music… which itself has proven to be perhaps paradoxically unpretentious and highly addictive… and the perception that the band deliver their proclamations with tongues in cheeks.
We’ve been helping to spread the word about Bob Malmström‘s music for more than a decade now, and we’re doing it today with a premiere stream of Segla med Satan in its entirety, on the eve of its November 18 release by the band’s label Elitbolaget.
It’s a hell of a six-track romp, with more twists and turns than you can shake a stick out, but with a persistent folk influence.(FYI: “bättre folk” seems to be a multi-layered play on words since it is both Swedish for “better people” and a sarcastic term for Swedish Finns and Swedish-speaking Finns, as well as a reference to some stylistic aspects of these songs.)
The opening track, for example, is a high-speed riot of feverish but mischievous bass-lines, maniacal drum attacks, crazed riffing, berserk screams, and guttural roars — but it also suddenly decelerates into a crushing, doom-shrouded experience where lunatic gang screams and hideous growls trade places.
But that’s immediately followed by the folkish singing and inviting guitar arpeggios that open “Isabel” (capped by a hell of a solo). It becomes a blazing anthem — bounding, swirling, and galloping with infectious energy, a multitude of vocal variations, and a guitar solo that sounds like a dancing fiddle.
The twists and turns keep coming, with “Bättre folk metal”, which is accented by bagpipe-like and fiddle-like tunes, and another dose of wide-ranging vocal extravagance. Well, Bob Malmström may enjoy expensive spirits and nice suits, but this one sounds like pulse-pounding peasant music, letting all the tension go after days of hard work — and it too sounds like its own kind of defiant anthem.
The rambunctious energy stays high through the darting, drunken, bounce-off-the-walls revels of “Rödgula flaggan på topp”, which builds toward a dervish-like finale, and the grand spin of “Westendflickan”, which is a fine example of just how seamlessly the band pull together a multitude of genre ingredients, from thrash to punk, folk, and classic heavy metal and rock.
There’s really no relent in the EP’s infectious energy and indomitable spirit, even when they make one last turn with a closing cover of “Det är över nu”, a single released by the chart-topping Swedish pop band Gyllene Tider in 1995. And of course, Bob Malmström put their own electrifying spin on the song.
Segla med Satan was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Teemu Aalto, and Jaakko Forsman made the crazy cover art. Harri Sunila made a guest vocal appearance. Elitbolaget will release the EP on cassette tape and digital formats, and you can learn how to order it via the first link below.