The output of Peter Pettersson (also of the nom de plumes Arcana and Victoria) in 2002 has been somewhat amazing. The man has done a new single for Arcana and now two releases from his martial project known as Sophia. This newest full-length from the heir to In Slaughter Native's throne threw me when I first heard it. That quickly changed, however, once I understood the concept: we deserve nothing more than the worst we receive.
The previous work "Herbstwerk" was a coldly precise and bombastic offering, whereas "Spite" is much more mean-spirited, hence the name. "Spite" is comprised of the sort of venom which you just don't get much in this day and age of pretty pop songs crammed full of clever hooks and melodic verse/chorus hell. "Spite" sets the tone as a dark and vindictive one right out of the gate with the eerily constructed and aptly named "Filth". This entire song has a long vocal sample which plays out in the background of a man discussing finding the dead body of a woman floating near the shore of a river.
Pettersson has a low opinion of humankind to be sure. Following is the even more directly hate-filled "Dirt", in which he intones that he "does not like" much of what he sees and despises the person or people who this track is directed at. As for continuity, therein is the rub: there are very few calm moments on this album. Just when it would appear that the malcontents are about to get a breather, more percussive destruction comes from out of nowhere. Track follows doom-laden and remorseless track, there is no escape, there is no peace.
"Spite" is closed out by the live song "Stained". This song would serve quite well for dismembering someone in the privacy of one's basement, hooks in the walls and all. Cruelty never sounded so painfully alive. Another nice feature of this album is the toned down use of choral arrangements which made "Herbstwerk" so incredible but would have muddled this album's clear cut aggression.
The bar has been raised for those who work in the far-reaching nebula that is "ambient" music. Pettersson is quickly becoming something of a legend in Cold Meat circles and beyond them. For those who long for the music to describe and compliment the ugly side of man, this is it. Make no mistake about it, Sophia is a mean machine indeed.