It’s not just that Swedish-Russian duo GHLOW are refusing to respect genre boundaries on their forthcoming debut album ‘Slash and Burn’, it’s that they’re doing so with such swagger and verve. The record’s epic title track, on which vocalist, bassist and art director Emille de Blanche’s commanding vocals drip with genuine menace, is the perfect example of this. “When we play live, it’s a physical experience,” she says when musing on the feeling GHLOW were aiming to evoke with ‘Slash and Burn’ – both the track and the record in full. “In the early days, we blew a lot of sound systems because the loudness was so important to us. There’s an intensity to that – a feeling of just wanting to be this vehicle speeding at 110 kilometres per hour – and we think we’ve captured it.”
GHLOW’s debut album, a thrilling clash of punk and electronica that fizzes with a furious energy, is set for release 02 April via PNKSLM Recordings. In GHLOW, de Blanche pairs with Nikolay Evdokimov who takes care of guitar, synths, drum machine and production duties. The pair’s first musical project together was a film score which soundtracked Kalle Altin’s short ‘Dom’ and then they released an EP ‘Crystal Memoriz’, combining stuttering beats with brooding synths to create an imposing atmosphere. Where Evdokimov’s beats were murky on ‘Crystal Memoriz’, they’re piercingly polished on ‘Slash and Burn’, setting up dramatic juxtapositions of sound when paired with scuzzy, effects-drenched guitar that recalls the alt-rock of the nineties, a decade crucially formative for both members.
de Blanche and Evdokimov share influences running the gamut from Dead Kennedys to The Prodigy, as well as fellow Swedes like revered post-hardcore outfit Breach and doom metallers Switchblade. They agree, though, that their joint outlook on music runs deeper than that: “It’s always been about emotion and passion, for me,” says Evdokimov. “That’s more important to me than genre. I have to understand the outlook of the artist; I need to be burned by it a little bit, almost.”