Review: Passiv Dödshjälp

Passiv Dödshjälp Skit på repeat Halvfabrikat

One of the most blistering releases of 2009 was Häng Dom by Stockholm’s Passiv Dödshjälp. They shared a lot of stylistic traits with bands like Kvoteringen and Totalt Jävla Mörker in the sense that they played gruff, mostly mid-paced d-beat. Passiv Dödshjälp were really my favorite of these bands. They had (and have) a melodic sense which is similar in a lot of respects to Martyrdöd, although I don’t think they’re tuned down into quite the same absurdly low register. On Häng Dom they interspersed their d-beat picking with ringing strings that created melodic atmospheres without fully worked out melodic lines. It was a subtle approach that, in my opinion, really set them ahead of the pack in this (admittedly very crowded field).

I was happy to discover the other day that the rumors that I had heard about another release from Passiv Dödshjälp were true. Their new EP, titled Skit på repeat is another simply crushing release. Passiv Dödshjälp don’t rely on speed but rather stick to bludgeoning midtempo licks and a vocalist who sounds like he’s just this side of the loony bin. The guitars are sharp. They’re downtuned pretty considerably, buy they retain enough mid-range and tone to make the tunes come through with brilliant clarity. What is most impressive about Passiv Dödshjälp is that they are willing to take a risk. So many d-beat bands out there will simply up the tempo, figuring that this will cover their deficiencies in terms of playing an arrangement. Passiv Dödshjälp’s songs have flow and direction and come at you at a speed that allows their intensity to wash over you like an overdriven wave.

The four songs on this EP go by all too fast, not surprisingly since (as on their other release) none of them clocks in at longer than three minutes. Given a choice between dragging out an idea too long and leaving the listening wanting more, the latter is always to be preferred. Passiv Dödshjälp leave their listening (myself included) wanting to hear a whole lot more.


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