Alfahanne – “Det Nya Svarta” (Indie Recordings)
It’s been a while since I heard a good indie band – and Sweden’s Alfahanne do a pretty good job in gaining my attention and respect. Taking inspiration from late 70s shoegaze bands like Joy Division as well as early 80s punk and early 90s black metal, Alfahanne’s rock is a deep blend of all these classic styles heard over 2 prior albums and now, “Det Nya Svarta”. Opening with ‘Satans Verser’, the raw shoegaze strummed guitar of Fredrik Sööberg along with catchy Nordic melodies sets the tone as Pehr Skjoldhammer’s highish vocals tell the tale – joined additionally by Kampfar’s screamer Dolk. Moving swiftly onto the Scandi rock of ‘Stigmata’ the rawness of the guitars remains, but this time with a more rock n roll mood, albeit remaining dark throughout as Skjoldhammer adds a more shouted out style to his throat strain. With some cool goth added to the indie on ‘Dödsmaskin‘, so too enters Sanrabb from Gehenna to provide the edge to some very classy but also catchy guitar work mixing the styles with tasteful melodies. In dark contrast come the deep, husky vocals of David Lindh from Yvonne & Broder Daniel on ‘Avgrundsgravitation‘ with Sööberg adding to the multiple vocal effect with his plucked guitar and again, some grabbing, standout melancholic melodies so reminiscent of those early inspirations. It’s even more pronounced on ‘Även En Hund Har Sin Dag‘, with the guitar lead actually more prominent and Skjoldhammer taking a somewhat quieter tone that works a treat as this catchy song alternates between brooding and barking! While not pioneering a new sound, Alfahanne (which means ‘Alpha Male’) do go a long way into making a success their highly catchy mix which clearly has a following, not just among their listeners but also garnering the respect of key figures in the underground.