Having ascended to the peak of the post-metal league with the peerless Cult Of Luna as well as creating several stunning albums with the more tempered and melodic Khoma, one wonders what’s next for the unbridled talent that is Johannes Persson.
Whilst I and countless others were no doubt hoping for more of the same since CofL are on what appears to be an indefinite hiatus, there is no retreading old ground here.
Deliberately breaking away from what he has stated were the confines of such a grand production with the aformentioned skull-crushing septet, he has poured his anger into a new, more direct channel in Riwen.
Whilst there is no mistaking the vocal rasp and some characteristic chord progressions here and there hark back to his previous work, this has more in common with the underground hardcore scene than anything on ‘Vertikal’ or ‘The Second Wave’.
‘Nature Calls Us Back’ falls over itself to get from start to finish in a mere three and a half minutes. It is furiously harsh and brutish, yet with a precision that can only come from years of crafting epic post-metal monoliths. Riwen‘s first attack feels like a suckerpunch to the head but reveals more subtle and intricate methods of concussion on each listen.
‘Values’ is snotty and remarkably catchy, with the sort of nasty galloping barrage you’d expect from Nails, Discharge or fellow Swedes Martyrdöd. Not a single note is wasted as it seethes and pulsates with detuned menace.
Before you have chance to catch your breath ‘Karlsgrundet’ greets you with continued aggression, although it slows the pace a little in the opening bars. The jarring guitars hark back to the brooding eloquence of ‘Eternal Kingdom’ and ‘Vertikal II’ but soon the composure breaks down and the bile seeps through.
Raging as hard as anything he has ever recorded but with a bitter punk flavour, this is further proof, if it were even needed, that Persson exudes venom with every chord and his ferocity is matched only by his sheer class. Expect something special when Riwen‘s first full length tears its way into your life next year.