Chronique | Scheitan - Songs for the Gothic People

Pierre Sopor 8 juin 2024

There had been a few warning signs, such as the single Fire at Dawn in autumn 2023, but this time it's the real thing: Scheitan have emerged from almost 25 years of slumber. The Swedish black metal one-man band, whose sound had already moved away from extreme metal with their previous album Nemesis (released in... 1999), has changed a great deal during their absence, as evidenced by the aptly named Songs for the Gothic People, a comeback stripped of past influences, under the banner of black elegance and melancholy dances.

As we said, the title is well chosen and sets the tone (or lack of it). This resurrection is made up of catchy, effective anthems. The classics of the genre, from Depeche Mode to the Sisters of Mercy and 69 Eyes (with whom Scheitan share the hit approach) are glaringly obvious, and listening to The Last Time you're reminded of Diary of Dreams for the same combination of sepulchral low vocals and danceable rhythm, but less leaden. Scheitan have gained in lightness by calming their guitars but also thanks to Pierre Törnkvist's vocals, which have become clearer and more seductive than his borborygms of the past.

Nostalgic melancholy dances with simple but memorable melodies (Hearse) to give life to highly synthetic and often catchy gothic rock (Lost in Time has all the unifying potential to make the crows dance, a bit as if the Tiamat of the early 2000s had gone completely wild when they recorded Vote For Love). Despite its constant spleen, Songs for the Gothic People is an album made to be loved quickly, which doesn't stop it slowing down for Forevermore, whose theatrical intensity we particularly appreciate.

It took Scheitan exactly 24 years to reinvent itself. Songs for the Gothic People is a refreshingly spontaneous album: while it may not change our lives in any profound way, it's a solid collection of catchy hits that come just at the right moment to cast a little shadow over the summer... Now Scheitan have to take to the stage for the first time in their existence (in mid-June, in Athens), and we might even be surprised to think that this comeback isn't just a nice one-shot, but the start of a great adventure!