Passiv Dödshjälp, completely out of the blue, blew me away with their debut CDr last year which clearly demonstrated that these Swedes were indeed able to write some 'catchy' crust tunes. Although you could clearly point out their influences, their songwriting ability and the way they incorporated dismal metallic tunes into traditional d-beat structures was simply captivating. Fast forward a couple of months, I got their new split 7" with Bergen, Norway's Livstid and I can safely say that Gävle's finest has managed to outstrip the quality of their debut. The record, which contains three songs from Passiv Dödshjälp and four from Livstid, is barely under 15 minutes and its length is perfect for those who prefer their crust punk as short and direct as possible. I don't want to downplay the caliber of the Livstid side (which is very good on its own terms), but the three Passiv Dödshjälp songs on this record superlatively fuse the ferocity of Swedish kängpunk luminaries with their contemporary, melody-instilled protégés. One of the most striking aspects of these new songs is that the band has managed to shape this integration in an almost seamless way, which in the end greatly strengthens the overall quality of their sound. The other participant of the split, Livstid has a similar game with their Swedish counterparts in terms of performing a cross-genre variant of hardcore/punk. Yet, Livstid embraces a faster approach with regularly bursting blastbeats and a discernible black metal vibe underneath a thick layer of fast-paced picking, obviously as a reflection of their hometown's grim legacy. This split 7" is a must-have for fans of Scandinavian hardcore/punk and for those who still regard vinyl as the ultimate medium to experience extreme music.
- Burak Tansel