With songs awash in twisted riffs and melodies that spiral ever tighter and become more pained and torturous as the tracks wind their way through the musical landscapes, this darkly atmospheric album is a nightmare painted with unnerving screams, twisted tones, and jagged textures. Spyhorelandet, the sophomore album from Norway's Formloff, is the embodiment of anguish, torment, and terror. Not easy listening, granted, but the eccentric duo behind this work – Bernt Karsatan Sannerud and Marius Blekspetl Sjøli – have plundered the depths of human futility for their influence.
Along with the guitars, bass, drums, and razor blade-chewing vocals, the album is coloured with keys, brass, and few other oddities prized into the mix. The execution is not technically challenging but the effect is that the compositions are foregrounded and so their ethereal majesty is allowed to consume the listener. The bounds of sanity are pushed, stretched, broken even, as the sounds that materialize prompt ever deepening echoes from the void from which Formloff summon their dark inspiration. Every change, however subtle, appears at the right moment, the duo's ability to mould sound to their portrayal of the dark edge of the penumbra of existence shining through at every turn. The variety in instrumentation, the melodies that emerge unexpectedly from the complex layers, and the shadowy structures make the album worth visiting time and again. With their debut, Adjø Silo, arriving in 2006 after 4 demos delivered one a year from 2002, Formloff are hardly prolific but when they do deliver, the work is something extraordinary. Progressive, Avant-garde, experimental, call it what you will, as a total immersion experience, Spyhorelandet is no exception. Remarkable, this is recommended listening.
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