As you may have found out yourselves (hopefully), we at the Smashing Skull Sessions like to support the underground music scene. Mostly rock and metal, but sometimes we like to showcase something different from other tastes of music as well. As long as it is played from the heart and soul.
Today I’ve got something slightly different for you again that fits in that latter category. But I hope a lot of our open minded readers and listeners will appreciate this. If you are into 1980’s new wave and postpunk you definitely should read on. Soft Kill is the brainchild of Mr. Tobias Grave with which he’s been releasing music since 2011 with some hiatus due to problematic drug use in the early years.
Since their kinda surprisingly 2019 split record with the stylistically and completely different Portrayal of Guilt (blackened grind) I’ve been following Soft Kill, and what hits home for me is the level of depth that is inbedded in the sound due to Grave’s struggle with addiction and loss. There’s a certain melancholy hanging over many of the songs.
Metta World Peace is the newest record and it was released through Cercle Social Records early June. The album consists of eight songs clocking in just under the 31 minutes and with a sound that I would call 1980’s postpunk with contemporary twists. Contemporary twists as in soundscapes/synths/ programming and some hiphop influences. Different, but it works. It works out great if you ask me.
Rat Poison is an intro with a soothing piano with some in minor angelic female vocals and some male softly singing/whispering on top. Then Trouble starts with a soundsample that easily could have been a beginning beat for a hiphop track (from Slaine for example), but that suddenly shifts into a typical 1980’s bass melody that was made popular by acts like The Cure, Killing Joke, Joy Division and Depeche Mode. And from that moment on, the song, and the rest of the album, starts to nestle into my brain. Repeating sound loops, singalong chorusses, personal lyrics and that typical 1980’s bass and electric drums create a highly infectious album.
Behind the Rain reveals itself as my favourite song of the album and, honestly, as one of my most favourite songs this year! What a killer track. Such great vibe and groove with catchy guitar hooks, bass lines and lyrics. “I can’t see the sun behind the rain”.
Past Life II begins with a distorted voice sample but that also shifts suddenly in a different direction. The core of the song is a downtempo electric dark wave beat with melancholic vocals following the beat, and in the end, the same piano as the opening song returns to finish it off. Paranoid is a slow flowing song with hip hopper Evil Pimp delivering the (rap) vocals. Like I said before: different, but it totally works in the overal sound of the album.
Molly is a single and a somewhat upbeat and uplifting song drenched in that typical 1980’s sound. The following Veil of Pain is another album favourite and contender in the best songs of the year list. It features vocalist N8NOFACE and his contribution makes me singalong with the repeating line “You know we love the violence and the Veil of the Pain”. Love it !
...And before you know it, the album has already reached its last track! With the highly danceable yet dark new wave Fuck Boy, the album adds another favourite before it ends.
So, as you can read, there’s little guitar on this record, at least compared to what we’re normally used to here on The Smashing Skull Sessions, But, this album is still layered as hell, and breaths a dark infectious atmosphere that will appeal to open minded music lovers in a broad spectrum. Highly recommended to give it an honest chance.