Boomkat Product Review:
A timely reissue of this Swedish underground noise rawk gem that inspired an entire movement. "Grå Våg Gamlestaden" is torched, blown-out and exploratory, all crunchy guitar fuzz and inverted, Viking drumming. Play fucking loud.
The collaborative project of Gothenburg's Dan Johansson (Sewer Election) and Sofie Herner, Neutral was an attempt by the duo to expand the ideas they'd begun to explore as members of proper band Källarbarnen. The duo made rock music, just about, but allowed lo-fi techniques and studio trickery to dissolve the songs into a slop of overdriven sheet noise, barely-audible vocals and bleak, rhythmic pulses.
Herner was responsible for the majority of the instrumentation and vocals, while Johansson used reel-to-reel tape techniques he'd perfected on Sewer Election releases (like the underrated early PAN zoner "Vidöppna Sår") to launch these song fragments into Valhalla. A few years after the release, "Grå Våg Gamlestaden" still sounds like a call to arms - a grim scream from a grey Scandinavian landscape.
Herner and Johansson capture a distinctly Northern European malaise and realize it perfectly. By distorting rock tropes and garbling them with folk, spoken word and the near-ancient beat of a solitary drum, they burn through hundreds of years of Scandinavian history. It's a long way from the hypertechnical blur of Swedish death metal, but at the same time arouses a similar feeling of disenfranchisement and the allure of the extreme.