Norwegian experimental metal unit, She Said Destroy, release music to align with no cycle but their own. They once did the hustle of touring and trying to make a career out of music and landed a deal with Candlelight Records for their 2006 debut. But members moved abroad, fatigue set in, and they went into hibernation after 2008’s This City Speaks in Tongues. A one-song extended play in 2012 called Bleeding Fiction looked like it would be their last recording until they returned in triumph in 2021 with their first full-length record in nine years. Now, the camp is much more in harmony having slimmed down to a trio. They intend to continue as a studio outfit and foresee a more productive future in this decade. As if to demonstrate this, they return with a sequel to their 2012 EP in the form of a fifteen-minute standalone composition that fans can experience on all digital platforms or as side D of their new vinyl release of 2021’s Succession album.
The best way to approach Bleeding Fiction 2 is to listen to it with no knowledge of its 2012 predecessor EP. Then you can enjoy both together by going back to the original and comparing them. In this regard, Bleeding Fiction 2 adapts many of the motifs and burning melodies of the first composition. The delicate keyboard glow and ambient guitar noise in the opening minute let you know that solitude is the biggest influence on this music. Listen how they embed a keyboard sample of brass into the soundscapes of the first minute. It’s the equivalent of chauffeuring you to the scene of the crime with a grief counsellor to accompany you in the back seat. Vocalist and guitarist, Anders Bakke (aka UMGOD), has no concern for your sensitivity when he opens his tonsils and screams down the microphone like a trauma victim in rehabilitation. Think the post-metal of The Ocean with sharp syncopated metal chugs and extravagant hammer-on and pull-off techniques.
They don’t bother with the atonal art metal of Cult of Luna in the first stages of this composition. Drum grooves settle into a regular beat, and bass musings reveal their presence like stealth bombers detected by conventional radar. Bakke has no need to consider how they will play this live now the band agree that they should exist as a studio entity. This explains why he uses a second guitar track to add pensive light refractions to his heavier rhythms. You know he might cut the line of distortion and retreat into a hybrid of delicate guitar-picking and intimate vocal phrasings at some point, but when and where? The answer is at 06:30 seconds, but he layers the song with the type of lonely winter harmonies that Icelandic post-rock duo, Isafjørd, use to great emotional effect. Clearly, the modern incarnation of She Said Destroy has as much in common with Sigur Rós and Radiohead as Neurosis and Isis.
The Bleeding Fiction effort from 2012 is twelve minutes longer than this one, but they scoop up as many ideas here in less time. A second part emerges at the ten-minute threshold after a brief pause of instrumentation. She said Destroy allow you to take a breather and conserve your energy for the bursts of aggression that demand your complicity. This approach will remind you of Swiss experimentalists, Icare, in the way they furnish you with the ups, the downs, and the regrets in between. You wonder if the band have a climax in mind when a distant female harmony appears after twelve minutes. It builds up like a gentle breeze waiting for the coldness of night, and it uses the predictable change of temperature to warn you that this will be a vicious affair. Anders Bakke has one last roar in him, yet he laces it with sorrow and stomps his feet to the downstroke of a sludgy guitar. Can you see your breath in the cold air?
She Said Destroy could still become the darlings of experimental metal if they follow their instincts and stay in their self-imposed cocoon. Let’s hope they produce a Bleeding Fiction 3 in 2032 and a few albums in between.
Release Date: 25/11/2022
Record Label: Mas-Kina Recordings
Standout tracks: N/A
Suggested Further Listening: Icare – Charogne (2022), Lost Hours – IV: The Silence of the Perpetual Choir in Heaven (2022), Isafjørd – Hjartastjaki (2022)