Updated: Mar 6
One look at this album’s information on its Bandcamp page, and it seems as though the marketing team behind it feels a certain kind of way about it. It almost sounds overblown. Almost. Carl Nilsson, the mind behind Lucifer’s Aid of Stockholm, Sweden, has backed up his words on his act’s newest album, Panic. With an artist name and album title like this work has, there is certainly something to be said about expectations. Having listened to this record, I’m happy to report that the hype was well-deserved.
Through ten tracks, totaling about 41 minutes, Nilsson mixes minimalist production, thumping bass, and growling vocals to create a hellish, brutal soundscape. It is not a thinking man’s industrial record, and it doesn’t need to be. It’s heavy, it’s straightforward, and it’s downright evil-sounding. The vocals tend towards a harsher style, at times more metal than true blue industrial, but by no means is that a slight against it. Even when more clean singing is used in tracks such as “Agitate,” they have a gravelly, uneasy edge to them.
What many would call a hallmark of industrial music is the distortion and manipulation of the instruments, vocals, and/or production overall. That aspect is something that Nilsson understands completely, and uses to great effect here. “Too Blind to See” sounds like it’s coming through a radio that has seen better days, perfect for the grungy feel. The warped wails found in “Not Meant to Be” and the opener “Slip Away” help to dig this album’s heels firmly in industrial territory, and songs like “Slow Death” and “Victims” highlight the minimalist side of the movement.
While it’s hard to find a weaker track amongst the disc’s ten, the lead single “Discipline” is a stompfest of epic proportions and should make its way to industrial clubs ASAP. The closing track “Backlash” is such a fun track, complete with a haunting synth riff that stuck with me for some time after the first listen. “Suffocate” has a lot of groove to it, showing that Nilsson can make more dance-floor-ready music just as well as he can crunchy, heavy EBM tunes.
For as on its own hype as the description may have been, it seems as though Panic lives up to just about every bit of it. It’s dark, it’s eerie, it is as harsh of an industrial record as you’re going to get. Whether the tones float or pummel, the music done by Carl Nilsson, under the Lucifer’s Aid banner, is for sure worth a listen.