When Niklas Sundin announced his departure from Swedish melodic death metal legends in March, too few of his fanbase knew of side project (now permanent artistic venture) Mitochondrial Sun. Formed in 2014 out of desire to explore music outside of his better-known construct in Dark Tranquillity, Sundin’s solo work is both “electronic” and “organic,” a meld of the beautiful and brutal and mysterious set to levitating regolith and cosmic rays. In some ways, Sundin’s alt music endeavor mirrors his other long-dormant project, Laethora, in which the guitarist/songwriter/visual artist was able to spread (or collapse) his wings without the worry of damaging the DNA of his main act.
Indeed, new album Sju Pulsarer (Argonauta Records) is a more direct attack than its self-titled predecessor (hear “Celestial Animal” HERE). Repetition, drive, and atmosphere are the order of the day. The tracks feel connected but not too similar in their post-metal blast off. In some ways, “Pulsar 2,” “Pulsar 3,” and “Pulsar 4” have flecks of “Nightfall by the Shore of Time” and “Crimson Winds,” but offer a different take on speedy melodic guitar work and celestial moods Sundin was known for in the early ’90s. Not that this is retread of old things, but rather there’s a window into it perhaps, with the vision being to go well beyond old trails not into ambiguity but to blaze new intrepid paths forward. It’s easy to hear Sju Pulsarer as strident but let the wave crash over, and it’s entirely the score of the curious, sky-ward looking side of humanity. Think of it as Max Richter’s splendid Ad Astra score set to expeditious distortion and hammering percussion.
Says Sundin: “The debut album was meticulously crafted, with a lot of time spent working on the instrumentation to make sure that each song would have its own distinct style and unique set of sounds. This time, I wanted to create something from the completely opposite vantage point. All songs–apart from the ambient outro–are all in a similar vein, performed with the same instruments, and read more like chapters in a book than separate entities. The intensity of the music and the repetitive and monotonous nature of the arrangements are meant to invoke a trance-like experience; all in all it’s a short and focused album that’s best suited for concentrated listening from the beginning to the end.”
Take a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the outer rim (of wherever you want to be) with Mitochondrial Sun’s Sju Pulsarer.