May 1, 2022

Alvablot is a new project put together by the Swedish multi-instrumentalist Petter Karlsson who some of you may recall for his work with Therion, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Mats Leven’s Skyblood and Snowy Shaw. He was the drummer in Therion but for the debut Harmonic Dystopia he is simply credited with ‘everything’ meaning that he has written, produced, performed and mixed the entire album which is most impressive; who says drummers are not real musicians?

Petter has written a very Scandinavian rock album in that it is heavy with lots of crunching riffs and earth shattering drums and pounding bass allied with anthemic keyboards but there is a dark atmosphere and vicious underbelly to the score which is epic, daring and just a little sinister at times. The theme of the album is Scandinavian myth and legend which explains the dark and portentous atmosphere for what is basically metal meets roots so we have quite a punchy folk rock album laid out before us. Everything reminds me about the world of Roine Stolt and the myriad offshoots from his Flower Kings band, Kaipa plus some of the folk elements of the wonderful Ritual led by the genius that is Patrik Lundström. Indeed, Karlsson’s vocal delivery is rather reminiscent of Patrik Lundström which means that he is a quality vocalist indeed and he is an equally adept musician as his guitar and keyboard work is simply wonderful too.

The album hits you immediately and you are struck by the pleasing complexity but the more you play the more you get out of it as there are so many hidden depths of beauty in the work and it is, incredibly, both heavy and ethereal at the same time. Check out the great album cover to see the secret world it hints at as it seems that the Álfablót or Elven sacrifice is a pagan Scandinavian offering made to the elves in the autumn when the crops have been harvested and the animals fattened for the winter. These pagan rituals are surrounded in mystery and secrecy and mostly administered by the womenfolk so were, presumably, sacrifices to thank the pagan spirit world for the bountiful harvest and a safe wintertime. I have met a fair few Scandinavians over the years and all seem to have a great interest in disappearing in to the forests, of which they have very many, especially with copious quantities of alcohol and could be gone for quite some while, now I know what many of them were up to! I’m sure the elves would be pleased with this album too especially if they are into progressive rock folk metal.

You are highly recommended to give this album a listen especially of you are into The Flower Kings as Alvablot aka Petter Karlsson has produced a quite stunning album. The work is self produced and if you are a label looking to sign a musical genius then I suggest you get in touch with Mr Karlsson immediately.

Harmonic Dystopia

  1. Blind Man (3:33)
  2. Golden Elf (3:02)
  3. Lost in Time (3:58)
  4. Elysium Road (5:20)
  5. Realm of Broken Hearts (3:32)
  6. Disharmonic Utopia (6:51)
  7. The Fairy & the Witch 6:01)
  8. Dark Princess (5:18)