Poena – Likboden MC Beläten 2012
Given that Poena is a new project, after reading the promo blurb I was admittedly sold before I had heard a second of this release – and I quote: “Poena – the spirit of punishment as channelled by Kristian Olsson (Survival Unit/ Alfarmania) and Christian Godin – perfectly blends the rank atmosphere of early Brighter Death Now with the obscure ritualistic rattles of Zero Karma and Ain Soph. ‘Likboden’ was recorded in the old morgue of the Sidsjön mental hospital in Sundsvall, a fact that permeates every death reeking, unsettling second of this 30 minute piece”.
With its single abstract composition ‘Likboden’ commence with assemblage of slow wavering bass drones, ritual chimes, loose percussion, rattling chains and distant groans emanating from the depths. Following on crude rhythmic beats are pounded out in the bowels of the asylum, whilst sustained vocal wails inject a tenseness to the dank atmosphere. At about the 10 minute mark the ritual percussive elements fall away into a cavernous death industrial territory, complete with bass loaded synth drones and the sporadic wailing of a horn that build to occasional tonal crescendos. For the final 10 minute stretch the track moves towards slightly noisier territory, with metallic scraping textures and animated vocal/ horn wails, whilst some forceful percussive ritualistic elements are resurrected late in the piece.
Noting there is a general looseness to the way to the track plays out, this possibly alludes to a semi improvised live context during which this material might have been recorded. With that said ‘Likboden’ is not without focus and structure, as clearly the duo of Poena know what they are doing given the degree of restraint displayed in the way abstract material such as this unfolds. Certainly the chosen recording location is also clearly reflected in the distant cavernous sound production which has been captured. With pro-printed tape and cover, everything from the sound to visual design, reeks of old school ritual industrial, done in the best way possible.