Over layers of cinematic and subtle instrumentation this Swedish songwriter has created a gothic nightmare, and her finest record yet
Promise And The Monster is the creation of Swedish songwriter Billie Lindahl. Her new album was recorded in a Stockholm basement by Lindahl’s producer friend, Love Martinsen. Over immersive soundscapes her misty vocals flicker in and out as they sing of violence, death and despair. The soothing nature of the music makes its subject matter all the more shocking.
An ominous mood is established by the title track and Hunter. Bowed strings, including a Chinese erhu, create a sound fraught with danger and Lindahl soon gives in to the predator that is stalking her. Time Of The Season is the black mirror to The Zombies’ song of the same name; the thrill of the summer romance having been replaced by the dark side of repeatedly falling for the wrong type of person.
The chilling thread continues with Lindahl singing, “Let them run, this time they cannot hide” on Slow And Quiet – this time she is the one doing the hunting, before the song comes crashing down around her. There is momentary respite on Julingvallen: a wordless and blissful adjournment to the suffering. This relief doesn’t last long though and her attention soon reverts to “this taste of blood in metal” on Hammering The Nails.
This is brooding and complex music for the Nordic noir generation. On Feed The Fire, Lindahl’s brand of atmospheric folk pop is carefully constructed, full of menace and a thrillingly visceral listen.
Verdict: A macabre masterpiece