Review: Död Mark - "Drabbad Av Sjukdom"

Död Mark - Drabbad Av Sjukdom
(2016 YEAR0001)

Crashing on the sonic futon of Scandinavian brethren Iceage and Lust For Youth, Sadboys founding fathers Yung Lean and Yung Gud eschew cloud rap sorrow for darkwave conviction. The Swedish pair's latest project, Död Mark ("Dead Ground"), is a weighted vest of strepococcal bass-groans and hammered drum machine beats that pulls the listener towards the dehydrated earth at their feet. Gud's lush dream-pop soundscapes have become arid no-wave wastelands in which Lean struggles to breathe, his one-autotuned flow now a parched yawp.

Död Mark's debut LP - titled Drabbad Av Sjukdom - could be mistaken for an early post-punk release in the sickly vein of Crispy Ambulance or Cabaret Voltaire; Gud's detuned, glassy synths are wrung through a gauntlet of automaton rhythm, hefty kick drums and rattling snares descending on raw melodic ore with the dull, percussive indifference of worn factory equipment. "Misstag" is a particularly industrial track, bolstered by primal drum hits that make me feel as if my inner ear is being probed by their electronic pulsations. Whirring sirens and metallic screeches populate their futurist backdrop.

Midway through Drabbad Av Sjukdom is the record's most traditionally punk undertaking, and its second-strongest cut, "Isobel". Gravelly power chords are poured out onto blast beats as Lean adopts a convincing impression of Britain's late-70s Oi! punk scene, dripping globules of hollow monotone apathy into his microphone. It is only bested by "Min Dag", a gloomy deconstruction of first-wave pop-punk that masks skeletal Blink-182 riffage through a lo-fi filter that recalls that of Dirty Beaches.

"Benzo" and the album's title tune are each indebted to Sadboys' traditional sound. The former laces languid trap beats beneath sludge metal chord-progressions and Final Fantasy string arrangements while the latter shares a deep-fried crunch with Lean's "Miami Ultras".

Though in terms of genre Drabbad Av Sjukdom is a major departure from Sadboys' previous discography, the record is a logical successor to Yung Lean's Warlord - it is cathartic, desolate and distorted-yet-dreamy. Even next to Warlord and Bladee's lachrymal Eversince LP, Död Mark's output stands confidently, a unique take on proto-gothic aesthetics that's just as innovative as the collective's surreal trip-hop ambience.