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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Puissance website  Puissance - Total Cleansing [Blooddawn / Regain - 2001]

Buy this CD now!
Puissance is probably more known for its radical views upon the world than for its music. But the newest release "Total Cleansing" should change that. With the help of Blooddawn / Regain Records and a slightly more accessible sound the Swedish duo is ready to take over the world...and destroy it.

Puissance started at the infamous Cold Meat Industry label, releasing two full-length albums ("Let Us Lead" and "Back In Control") and a 7" ep ("Totalitarian Hearts"). After that, Puissance changed to the Polish Fluttering Dragon records and released "Mother Of Disease". At the time it got released this was certainly their best work, but the following MCD "Hail The Mushroom Cloud" was rather disappointing. And with "War On", a release containing mostly re-done versions of old tracks, Puissance ended the cooperation with Fluttering Dragon. Two new 7" eps were released on small labels, called "A Call To Arms" and "Genocidal" respectively. In the year 2000 Puissance got signed by Blooddawn Productions (one of the Marduk guys' label, for those who don't know) and with "Total Cleansing" Puissance released their fifth full-length.

When reading the titles of the releases in the short history above, one can see that Mr. Soderlund and Mr. Muller don't have a really positive look upon the world. I quote from a interview: "Puissance want to exterminate life and the forces that drive the world into insanity, we loath evolution be it in plants, animals or humans, it's all the same, biological waste and it should be terminated." This is translated musically into apocalyptic neo-classical arrangements, supported by military battle drums and the authoritarian speeches by Fredrik Soderlund. Speeches proclaiming the forthcoming armageddon and generally telling the listeners how pissed off he is with this world.

The music of Puissance has always evolved from simple neo-classical arrangements into complex and professional music, more melodic yet harsher than their earlier work. On their new album they take another step further in structure, vocals and lyrics. For the first time is Puissance's history the tracks are real "songs" with chorus sections, making the music more convenient than for example "Back In Control" (which has the same kind of feeling as "Total Cleansing"). I knew that Fredrik is a versatile person, looking at the man's other bands like Parnassus, Octinomos. Valkyria, Tripwire, ... Now he also uses real singing vocals in the previously mentioned choruses alongside the speeches. The vocals are certainly not the best I've ever heard, but they create a melancholic feeling and a sense of hopelessness, and that is exactly what the duo aim for. The military drums are not gone completely, but different, not really harsher but not softer either. As for the lyrics, the misanthropic, apocalyptic concept is still there, but some of the tracks have a different subject: the corruption of the press and media. When reading through the lyrics one can only say that they're absolutely right, bringing you back to reality.

"Total Cleansing" is Puissance's best album to date. Powerful, grand compositions, melancholic vocals and recognizable lyrics wrapped in a industrial and very atmospheric package. They have changed yet you can hear the typical and unique Puissance elements they are known for. For those who love to hear music coming out of a dull computer, the full album can be downloaded at their homepage in not-so CD quality. But I can assure you that the beautiful digipak is worth the money.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Justin Faase
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