I don't what the hell happened. I love Swedish screamo. I've loved screamo for well over a decade now but had never heard SUFFOCATE FOR FUCK SAKE until 2014 when Justin from Congratulations, New Wings and Woodlouse lent me their double LP and I became entranced. This is some very deep, meaningful and unique shit. What does it sound like? Crusty, unnerving noise harnessed with screamo and hardcore mix beautifully with the ambient, dense instrumentals and clean vocals that bring ambient/atmospheric music, post-rock and post-hardcore to mind. The ridiculously titled album "Blazing Fires And Helicopters On The Frontpage Of The Newspaper. There's A War Going On And I'm Marching In Heavy Boots" is so good you must check it out. That's a goddamn command ;) I'll quickly go through each track from it.
"Blue Lights and Sunshines" begins with an eerie, Isis-esque beginning over Swedish movie samples that I can't understand. Regardless, it's effective as all hell. The remaining instrumentals then join the mix and at 3:30 the clean singing makes a debut, and it fits perfectly. "Today I saw the ground started to shake." It should be noted that prior to this there were no clean bits from the primary vocalist, just screaming. It's quite a progressive intro. At 4:10 the screaming meets up right on time with the crashing instrumentals and carries the song to the most logical and epic conclusion. "I Got Worried…I Was So Freaking Scared Of That Window, You Know" is a pretty chill and rolling number that could have shown up on the Isis/Aereogramme split that came out about 10 years ago. The clean vocals on this are fantastic and the song itself is really dreamy and reminds me of Ira's later material. "We Are Driving Through Darkness" is one of the heaviest and best songs the band ever did. It clocks in at 6:36 but wastes no time getting Old Man Gloom heavy. It's a deep, driving and haunting number that dips into a sweet melodic section (and again halfway through the song) before pummeling the listener a second time at 1:13 and lacquering the sound with Isis/Rosetta and City Of Caterpillar. There is an angelic clean ending that starts at 5:04 and is a beautiful if not oddly placed finale. "Twenty-Six and Full of Plans" is a whopping 17:20 in duration and it leaves no stone unturned for the band. Everything is here, and it is breathtaking. "A Japanese Flag" is weird and more in line with being an experimental, industrial, electronic tune. "I Keep My Eyes On The Ground, Afraid Of Meeting Someone I Know" sounds like a mix of Mogwai and Pelican (aka soft, dreamy, expansive) and is a purely instrumental jam. "Empty" is the shortest and definitely the most chaotic and driving song so it's the one I chose for the blog mix last month. The chug breakdown at 1:50 with the harsh vocals are fantastic and make me fucking loopy when combined with the epic, Omega Massif/Light Bearer-esque space guitars overlapping at 2:31. Holy hell that's good stuff. The closer "They Try To Cheer Me Up By Saying I Did Once Live A Functioning Life" is more than 10 minutes of dreamy, hazy and writhing soundscapes, but maintains a structure so that it stays interesting without becoming self-indulgent.
I've only just found out about the 2004 self-titled EP because of reviewing the band for this review. Regardless of our short time together, two songs in particular resonate with me. "Hospital H The Social Worker Dragon" is an prodigious gust of violent, swirling wind that encircles the listener for over 11 minutes. "Lesra" is long, at more than 8 minutes but the latter half is more audio clip than song (although the piano is really cool). I really dig the caustic sound and claustrophobic feel of that first half, with some occasional breathing room (check 0:40-1:42).