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Audionom “Retrospektiv” Review

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

As Retrospektiv stands it is the lone rearviewmirror to a band that most, including myself, unfortunately knew little to nothing about, it fortunately also serves as an indicator of what may come for Audionom. The group itself has physically changed throughout the years with a large number of comings and goings but has evolved around its core of Johan Hinders (vocals, synthesizer), Peter Backebo (guitar, backing vocals), and Paul Sigerhall (drums). Forming in the late ’90s the group found a great deal of early success through a number of singles released in its native Sweden before eventually disbanding.Retrospektiv, having been originally released overseas in 2005, now looks forebode what is to come for the reunited line-up with its American release.

After the over-the-top pop-metal jam “Ljusets Krigare” introduces the group to its listener Audionom settle in with a series of songs that sequester the band from its scene, its country and its contemporaries. “And You Said I Was the Only One” and “Kristall” both float into the album’s landscape with an essence of Ian Curtis so sickening that the songs immediate cause the listener to question the bands motives. Is Audionom merely a European predecessor to any of the hundreds of goth-influenced American rock groups who attempted to lay claim to the sound’s rebirth in the mainstream during the first few years of the new millennium or is it in fact something greater? That question takes little time in answering itself as the tone and core of the songs that follow alternately offer genuine glimpses of balance krautrock and nuanced order.

As the album further defines the group it becomes obvious that there is truly a blurred distinction surrounding its sound. “Boogierock” is a sludgy, repetitive, grinding instrumental that develops over the course of the song’s first thirty seconds rather than slowly building over the course of the song’s eight and a half minutes.

A few years back I was working on a demolition project with a few of my cousins and the job included transporting a large quantity of metal pallet racking pieces. Rather than taking it safe and making two trips with the large flatbed trailer we were using they figured it best to load everything up to the maximum height limit and let it rip in one trip. After strapping the racking down we jumped in the cab of the truck and started working up to the freeway. We were taking the corners sharply and the truck flew down the road, I asked something along the lines of “aren’t we going a little fast” and my cousin responded “no way, balls to the wall, if it’s going to fall – it’s going to fall.” And in a way that completely explains Audionom to a tee. If the sound is going to break somewhere along the way, so be it, but they’re not going to slow down in anticipation of that snap.

Whereas “Boogierock” consumes the better part of nine minutes, “Det Var På Den Tiden Vi Bodde i Skogen och Hade Svans” doesn’t even break two. What follows is something true to its predecessors yet distinctly different, a fifteen minute stoner jam ridden with layers so densely atmospheric that they find themselves lost amongst the repetition and whirling electronic background, “Horisont.” This song, as most all others on Retrospektiv, fails to identify Audionom as a unit influenced by one core movement or a band that plays to a general listener within a typical rock-based genre. Its music is far from aggressive compared to modern hard rock’s typical figureheads yet Retrospektivoffers a set that is increasingly unrelenting in its booming, progressive vision. And that in itself should entice new and old listeners alike to not only await, but crave whatever is to come from this distinct Scandinavian collective.