Album Review: Kriget – Dystopico




Swedish experimental rock trio Kriget aims to capture the dazzling “catastrophe” and frightening violence of modern society through bass, drums, and saxophone. By blending elements of electronic music, free jazz, and prog rock, Gustav Bendt, Per Nordmark, and Christoffer Roth capture new and old, beauty and terror, control and chaos, a psychedelic volcano of energy.

Saxophone-equipped bands like Gutbucket and Happy Apple have had success on the border fringes between jazz and rock, but Kriget take their technical precision closer towards the area of Battles, thanks to shifting time signatures and burning rhythmic energy. Bendt’s sax frequently filters through electronic effects to fit the mood, as on “Malocchio” where he uses distortion to match the surrounding bed of malevolence. There’s a tinge of John Zorn’s Masada to the tune, Nordmark’s thumping shuffle and mysterious synth pulses drifting on an eastern wind.

Bendt’s contributions to “Say No More” are far less recognizable, only flutters of airy high end noise working against the manic rhythms. However, Roth’s frenetic, metallic interplay with the drums hits a noise rock high, a view of a different part of the world crumbling. Opener “Sleeping With Buddha” plays off of an ominous cluster of bass and buzz, building to an industrial beat and honking sax rattle.

Later, “Aghori Diet” opens with an aggressively shouted count-0ff in Swedish, ripples of chipped and scattered high-end buzzing flitting over an insistent beat. While the sound of electronic insects is a recurring one (matching the apocalyptic destruction the band desired), here it stagnates, sitting in pestilence without making any sort of progress. “King of the Cowboys” similarly finds a groove of glitchy bass and pummeling percussion, but lacks direction. While it still matches that volcanic potential of the album’s best tracks, Dystopico spends some time dormant, failing to realize its volatile hum.

Essential Tracks: “Malocchio”, “Say No More”

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