Sweden’s Dråp emerged in 2013 with their first full-length, En Naturlig Död (Swedish for “a natural death”), which was written in tribute to vocalist Joachim Lyngfelt’s mother, who passed away from cancer in 2010. En Naturlig was a pretty straightforward blend of Swedish-style d-beat and crusty death metal, with a far greater emphasis on the former, and with some dashes of black metal dissonance to add a hint of flavor. That debut was enjoyable enough, filled with all the raw emotion and gnarly riffing you’d expect, but it didn’t quite coalesce into anything more than potent than its influences.
Four years later, Dråp is back with Rotten Till Allt Ont (“The Root Of All Evil”) and it’s a much better version of its elder sibling, exhibiting very much the same formula, now balanced greater and simply refined. The black metal melodies are more prominent, more seamlessly incorporated, and by focusing more on the other aspects of their sound, Dråp has moved further afield from straight up d-beat. Like the Spaniards in Cruz, whose Culto Abismal has seen repeat spins in my house for the past few months, Dråp occupies sonic ground between Wolfbrigade raging punk, Swedeath, and early Bolt Thrower, now with that added advantage of the occasional dip into bleak avant-black dissonance.
Opening with the blasting “Ner på Knä,” Allt Ont hits hard out of the gate – for that one, drummer Emil Leijon sticks mainly to to smashing blastbeats, adding moments of crushing swagger as a counterbalance. Guitarists Jesper Ekstål and Jimmy Mattson switch deftly between tremolo-picked death riffs and those dissonant blackened bits, and Lyngfelt bellows his guts out atop the fray. Given the stated influence, it’s exactly the attack you’d expect, but that doesn’t make it any less pummeling when it hits. The title track relies on much the same viciousness – contrast its blast-happy bashing with the more controlled pace of “Yttersta Domen” that follows it, and the pair together add up to some of the finest minutes that Rotten Till Allt Ont has to offer.
Rotten Till Allt Ont’s attack isn’t necessarily a novel one – it’s the nature of this type of beast, and there are other bands plying similar sounds, but as mentioned, that renders it no less destructive in the end. It’s certainly a marked step forward for Dråp, categorically across the board – the songs are better constructed; the production is stouter and more appropriately punishing; the performances are more energized and more potent. Anyone with any interest in all things crusty and violent should certainly find much to enjoy in Rotten Till Allt Ont, and my interest is certainly piqued enough to keep this one around and keep an ear out for where Dråp goes next…