Don’t hate me for what I’m about to say, but when I started listening to Promise & The Monster I immediately started thinking about Twilight. That whole Saga, whether you like the stories or not (which I admit I do) has a pretty powerful soundtrack. I mean everyone knows Supermassive Black Hole by Muse and I hope we can all agree it’s a pretty awesome song.
So who is Promise & The Monster? Well the woman behind the band is Billie Lindahl. They are preparing to release their third album Feed The Fire out January 22nd on the Bella Union label. And the entire album is pretty dark and spellbinding. Honestly, it would be a great backdrop in a vampire flick.
“All the songs are, in a way, tales of violence,” Lindahl explains. “When I started to write the lyrics, I wrote about killings, where I imagined being inside the killer’s head. At the same time my own life started to collapse, starting with a break-up, and it took some bad turns. For a couple of years I lived a desperate life amongst the ruins of my old life. The landscape in the lyrics is an imaginary one, an apocalyptical landscape, but it resembles those ruins.”
Feed The Fire was recorded in Stockholm, where Lindahl lives, at Labyrint, a small basement studio run by her friend Love Martinsen who produced the album and shares most of the instrumentation with Lindahl.
The opening title track sets the scene with the immediate confession “I’m already too involved / I’m forced into the core.” ‘Hunter’ expands the dreamy, eerie mood with an echo of girl-group drama filtered through a remote Swedish forest, featuring the Erhu, a Chinese violin. “It’s a great instrument,” Lindahl says. “It sounds a bit like somebody is weeping, and I think we managed to make it weep.”
The view keeps changing: ‘Time Of The Season’ is a more urgent rush of blood, with chiming guitar, ‘Hammering the Nails’ is gentler despite the image, “this taste of blood in metal” and the tremelo guitar twang and an exquisite coda of Mariachi horns in ‘Machines’ resemble a slice of vintage Americana. ‘Slow And Quiet’ and ‘Julingvallen’ offer a sonic calm and respite. Images of skin, flesh, bone and rust create a clash between humanity and the natural world, while the words, “The blood and the seeds have dried” appear more than once. The album finale, a cover of the traditional British folk song ‘Fine Horseman,’ taps the same essense, but is the song’s foreboding drum mantra leading you out into the light, or further into the dark?
Duality sits at the core of Feed The Fire, and likewise the name Promise & The Monster. “To feed the fire can be seen as both constructive and destructive,” Lindahl concludes. “You keep the fire burning, the spark alive. But fire can kill you. Like life and death, it’s not really a contradiction. I think it’s necessary to be open to destructive forces if you want to live a life where strong emotions are present. To see, listen and feel is quite a violent and confusing experience, and I think my lyrics often evolve around that, blurring boundaries between dream and reality, and between sanity and insanity. To me, Feed The Fire is a concept album that explores those kinds of themes, from certain places and real happenings.”