Review: Epilogen ‘Nollpunkten’

When it comes to uniqueness in 2023, I think it’s safe to say that the hopes for something truly new, yet different, have become a bit of a rarity. We live in a time where what’s considered ‘different’ in the mainstream, is to take an already famous song and strip it back. All too often, we are bombarded by these paper-thin, watery ‘reimaginings’, which, for me personally, leave me flat, and lacking in hope for the future in music.

Epilogen 'Nollpunkten'
Epilogen ‘Nollpunkten’ Artwork

Well, thankfully, the mainstream is a dick, and what passes for ‘entertainment’ to the masses these days is something that only courageous souls, and like-minded entities such as myself, strive to avoid like the plague. Thank the maker then that musicians and artists exist who are willing to push the proverbial envelope and think outside of the box.

Epilogen, from Stockholm in Sweden, are one such project. The duo of Jakob Berglund and Anders Carlstrom are no strangers to sharing ideas and creating sounds which defy logic. As well as being long-time friends, they’re also members of post-metal band A Swarm Of The Sun and with Nollpunkten, the pair take us on a journey into another realm completely, one where second rate garage music and clichéd lazy soundtracks fail to exist. And boy, what a plain it is to be on.

With a couple of previous releases as Epilogen under their belts, the duo have stepped forward once more, to create a beautifully dark, lavish feast of sounds, which are both abstract in tone and nature alike. Over the course of these four tracks, which total over thirty-seven minutes in first-rate sonic intensity, the pair showcase just how talented, and what a scope they have for sound, where even the tiniest moments are factored so eloquently.

Opener, Vredens – Tid, starts with a pensive, and atmospheric vibe. The ghostly quiet inception is broken by a distorted guitar, primally wailing with disjointed cries. A slow methodical ticking keeps that intensity surging, which does remind me of those Emma Ruth Rundle albums of guitar music, where there isn’t so much structure as there is a free-form outpouring via those six tightly wound strings. Interspersed throughout, there are some vocal moments, all sung in a native Swedish tongue, just to add another magical element to the piece, its wondrous in its majesty.

its stripped-back beauty is a joy to behold…

Drommen Om Eld Irrande Stjarna only serves to solidify this feeling, with what feels like a primal drone, over an oppressive drum. The tribal ambience is as sinister as it is methodical, and it leaves the listener feeling a real sense of despair. The muted drone travels through the piece, and its only broken at nearly the ten-minute mark by the inclusion of a vocal uprising. Painfully mournful, this is so darkly beautiful, that even in the absence of a full musical narrative, it’s what the band don’t include that leaves you feeling the way it does.

Just when you are starting to think things must shift into a different realm, En Plats Under Jorden rolls in, to firmly beat you down into submission. A track of two halves, the initial low-key ambient industrial drone with occasional guitar flourishes, is broken midway. It is replaced somewhat by a more viscerally intense second half, which lurches along, pained with wailing guitars. This, for me, is the epicentre of the whole project, and it leaves me absolutely speechless.

As Stilla-Liv blows in to finish the album, its stripped-back beauty is a joy to behold. There’s something so understated about this band as it’s what they don’t put in that you latch on to. I found myself filling in the beats on the quieter moments, keeping the tune going in my own little world. Of course, the reality is that there wasn’t even any music there in the first place, but it’s that primal need to follow a pattern, which catches me, and it isn’t until the track has even ended that I realise that I’m still going in my own sonic space.

Coming away from the album, it’s an absolute nightmare considering what to even put into this review. It’s so understated, yet at the same time, full of emotion and intensity, it will leave you wanting to go back to try and get your head around it time and time again.

Truly a unique entity and one to latch on to as Epilogen are sublimely artful in the best sense.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish