Kainskult begins with “Death & Ecstasy”—a work of raw, bloodthirsty terror. “Brother, I will lead you to your death/ Ravage me, death and ecstasy,” go the chanted lyrics, ricocheting off skull-cracking beats to create an overall atmosphere of dread. This sort of nasty, callous industrial music is par for the course for Swedish group Trepaneringsritualen (T x R x P). The first proper LP since 2014’s crushing Perfection & Permanence, Kainskult continues the band’s harrowing trajectory, further developing and sharpening their ritualistic wall of noise. Throughout Kainskult, T x R x P plunge deep into pitch-black darkness, and each song is almost Biblically violent—both the cold vengeance and anguished remorse that arrived when Cain killed Abel.
T x R x P mostly mine the primitivism of early industrial bands —the brutishness of SPK’s early ’80s live recordings, the metallic sound of Einstürzende Neubauten, Genocide Organ’s power noise—but they also allow for moments of straightforward musicality. “All Flesh Has Corrupted” is a clear progression from Perfection & Permanence, its grinding, insistent beat almost bordering on danceable. Along with the clashing, clanging of “Serpent Seed,” it offers a glimpse of the group’s dense, deliberate song construction, pairing skull-boring rhythms with monstrous, roaring vocals in a way that achieves maximum terror. The writhing noise of “ᚲ ∴ ᚲ ∴ ᚲ” and “An Immaculate Body of Water,” with their groaning, minor-key synths, feel like long, desperate walks though bleak, grey landscapes. The fog lifts—barely—on the album-closing “V ∴ V ∴ V,” where a murmuring vocal melody marks a clean break from Kainskult’s wall of noise, recalling the foreboding industrial of Haus Arafna.
Kainskult is a ferocious album, one that often feels like a portal into the very human heart of hell. Songs crumble and fall in thick slabs, leaving nothing but agony in their wake. But for all its ferocity, the album’s most startling moments are the delicate ones—the silence that comes after a violent storm. Even amidst the industrial chaos of Kainskult, there is still beauty to be found.