Anything with the name Fredrik Croona attached and it is worth more than just a cursory glance, as chances are you will be delving into something that in the very least will rile up the senses and inflame the darkest corners of the soul. With his new solo project Cynical Existence he does that and much more. A Familiar Kind of Pain is the debut EP from the venture and a release that invades and clings with the greatest of satisfaction whilst twisting and manipulating for the deepest pleasure. Across eight tracks the release rampages and stomps incessantly, and from start to finish provokes and taunts to inflame the ear and far beyond every second of the way.
From Göteborg, Sweden, Croona has constantly kept the ears of industrial and ebm fans challenged and fulfilled as formerly part of Menschdefekt and more distinctly since with his band Project Rotten, as well as collaborations with varied artists most recently with the likes of Washington duo Scream Machine. He began Cynical Existence in 2011 with the intent of bringing old school harsh ebm and industrial into a more emotionally driven sphere. Croona himself states that the project “does not intend to create something new and unique, just something personal.” Released April 1st on dark electro label Engraved Ritual the release leaps at the ear with an intention and passion that can only be organically inspired from within, its infectious conjurations forging a deep and unrelenting connection to its listeners.
The EP opens with Always and Forever’a pulsating and bewitching track which paces itself from the off. Straining at but never let off the lease the song taunts and prowls around the ear, its dark electro veins twitching around crystalline flashes of sound and resourceful melodic infections which finger the senses with acidic energy. The song is a strong opener if not one to overload the senses, that pleasure is left for the following tracks to bring.
A Familiar Kind Of Pain leaves no emotion and feeling untouched or scorched. The likes of the mesmeric and shadowed Dead Eyes (See No Future), Release Me a song that lays wanton and intrusive razorblade sharp melodies through the ear before expanding into migraine inciting heavy cranial thumping like a aural version of Scanners, and the blackened recessed Licking My Skin all gather one up with a leech like grip and consumption which is glorious. Varied and unpredictable the release drains and ignites the senses at the same time, the result an irresistible experience that though one is left a lifeless shell has to dive right back into the experience immediately again.
The EP grips hard and impressively from the off and only ascends from there on in but there are two tracks which make the release an essential have alone. Insecure is a snake charmer of a song. It hypnotises and captivates with dazzling and caustic melodies that exploit and incite limbs and heart into capitulation whilst stomping with thunderous beats on a shattered body. It is a deranged puppeteer with the devil in its soul and probably the best song heard in a long time anywhere. Paradox comes very close to rivalling it though with its anthemic fist thrusting unrelenting heavy electro raging. The song sweeps one up in its surging waves of blood pumping energy whilst all the time plundering and blistering the ear with tempestuous slithers of lethal melodies and delicious sonic molestations.
A Familiar Kind Of Pain is immense, a stunning play with light and dark in sound, emotion, and heart. It avoids any formulaic moments by sheer ingenuity and the allowing of instinctive thought and emotions to drive its course. Without taking away from his fine musical exploits to date this might well be Fredrik Croonas finest moment, it is certainly one of the best things to hit the genre in a long time.