The album cover, too, drags my mind back to about fifteen years ago. Those were the nights. I always felt extremely tired at school - my adolescent brain somehow was incapable of realizing that a massive sleep shortage was the only possible cause. When my parents sent me to my room to sleep, I would spend the first hours reading anything I could get my hands on until the point where the letters danced before my eyes. But whatever I tried after putting out the light, the thoughts kept on assaulting me like hungry lions. I started developing the habit of just getting up again in stead of drowning in my own thoughts: sneaking down the stairs, turning on the computer, sometimes to surf to a website which was all about images like Unclean's cover, always while listening to some damn dark music through the headphone. This prohibited behaviour gave me the kick of fear which I guess I needed to be capable to slay all the lion-thoughts because after such a late-night session I could finally get some sleep.
Anyway, Swedish martial industrial act Sophia's tunes haven't lost their guts during the band's 13 years of hibernation, on the contrary. They're back and I can't say that they're darker than before - I believe there's just one shade of black and Peter and Cecilia Bjärgö have never turned their backs to it. If you asked me to compare Unclean to the previous work, I'd say there's more vocals, less melody and a lot more percussion. About half of the tracks almost burst with noise and percussion, just like during the performance last night. Rhythmic, hypnotic, intense, perfectly supporting the imploring whispers and chants. Examples: 'Where Steel Meets The Flesh', 'Unclean' or 'Steel Cathedral'. The other tracks, mostly the shorter ones, contain dark ambient and quite some noise and vocals too, which enforce the ghastly, misanthropic atmosphere.
The whole sounds quite a bit like In Slaughter Natives, Karjalan Sissit (without the screams) and Arditi, just like in the good ol' times. I just fucking love this album and I'm glad Sophia is resurrected and kicking. Get your hands on this album if you're a fan of one or all of the bands mentioned above, you won't regret it. Just don't forget to put your knives and other potential torturing devices away before hitting the 'play' button...