While Americans prepare to gorge themselves in turkey, cooked six different ways, and the rest of the world takes advantage of every department store (physical or otherwise) for their Hanukkah and Christmas1 shopping, I’m still in a Halloween mood. This is partly due to my date with King Diamond in a couple of weeks and the fact that Halloween flew by me this year. Work be like that sometimes. No month of horror movies leading up to the big day. No romantic nights with Elvira. No King Diamond/Mercyful Fate marathons. But, I’ll be goddamned if Halloween escapes me before 2019 ends. So, instead of turkey preparations and being thankful for the useless shit in my life, November is my new October. And, as it turns out, there’s no one I’d rather spend it with than Reveal and their third concoction of mindfucking black and death, Scissorgod.2
Before picking up Scissorgod, I’d never heard of these Swedish upstarts. Jumping on the scene with their 2011 debut, Nocturne of Eyes and Teeth, Reveal bends the traditional Scandinavian sound over and fucks it with deathly chugs, punkish attitude, and slow-moving passages. It’s raw, it’s primitive, and it’s full of no-fucks-given character. A theme stamped on every one of their EP and LP releases. Flystrips followed-up in 2016 with a stripped, bare-bones approach that’s every bit as aggressive and hateful as the predecessor. But Scissorgod is something else.
Seconds into the opening title-track, Scissorgod reveals3 some of its deep, dark secrets. And it does so via slow-moving structures, haunting guitar leads, and saxy, Sigh-like additions. Other noticeable changes heard in the opener are Scissorgod‘s improved dynamics. Dynamics that allow the bass and six-string axes to peek their heads out of the muck and filth. Not to mention, these are the band’s strongest vocals to date. But this is just the beginning.
Follow-up track, “Harder Harder”—and its partners in crime, “Clevermouth” and “Feeble Hearts”—displays a punkish quality to it. Moving fast and hitting hard, the blackened rasps punch with each kit hit and drive the album further out into the muck. The muck getting muckier with the drive and gallop of “Clevermouth.” This piece hits even harder than, well… “Harder Harder,” showing that there is no limit to the band’s aggression and their ability to stack voice, guitars, and cymbal crashes to greatest effect. The groove comes a bit later on “Feeble Hearts,” taking a backseat to effects, distant vox, and spurts of horns as only mid-career Celtic Frost or Nattefrost might do. The drums steal the show here, though, and further prove the effectiveness of the mix.
But the unsettling moments of “Feeble Hearts” are but a taster compared to those of “Decomposer” and closer “Coin Toss.” Both move like a corpse on the county examiner’s table. The former is nothing but snail-paced sinisterness and circus-y nightmares wrapped up in whispered words. It’s a creepy motherfucker that could find a place in the dark concept of Cradle of Filth‘s Midian or Godspeed of the Devil’s Thunder. But its true home is here on Scissorgod. The closer begins like “Decomposer” but with blaring horns in the background and a building presence throughout. At first glance, I would have guessed it was Carach Angren, then the peak erupts and Reveal reveals4 themselves.
With the strongest guitar leads, bass work, and vocals the band has ever put to tape, Reveal steps out of their comfort zone and pushes the envelope even harder, incorporating builds and melodics like never heard from these Swedes. The bass is stronger than ever, the songwriting is pure power, and the inclusion of horns and saxy atmospheres increases the creepy factor. Scissorgod is a sinister work of art that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Well done, boys, you’re just in time for list season.