Scandinavia has been killing it lately — at least when it comes to avant-leaning psych rock. Denmark’s Causa Sui and Mythic Sunship spring immediately to mind but, after hearing Kungens Män’s latest outing Chef, I would be remiss to leave out the Swedish band. The moody, drone-inspired record arrives Friday (Feb. 22) on Riot Season Records.
Chef plays like a tense horror or sci-fi movie soundtrack. You could amplify the climax of black-and-white horror classic The Night of the Living Dead, with pretty much any track off the record. Opening salvo “Fyrkantig Böjelse” features an agitated, kraut-inspired bass riff, followed shortly by spacey synthesizers and wandering guitars that build slowly to an intense, twitchy climax. Boasting three guitarists in its roster, Kungens Män injects shots of adrenaline from multiple aural angles. It’s almost as if the listener is surrounded by a well-organized mob of zombies. But the sound is so well contained, there’s nowhere to run. You just have to succumb.
The second track, “Öppen för stängda dörrar,” is no less moody as the record continues a heavy drone, feeling like dense fog out of which guitar riffs and synth screams emerge. “Män med medel” feels less dark, but carries a turned up tempo that will raise your heart rate in under 60 seconds. If I continue with the zombie film analogy, this is where the main character picks up an ax (or three) and starts chopping away. Chef ends with a return to the slower moody drone, closing the record with more questions than answers and subtly suggesting you flip the record back to the A-side and start again.