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Henrik Palm - Nerd Icon


Henrik Palm, or Henke as lovingly referred to by his friends, has been around the block so much that the block has transformed into a crystal structure of self-reference; with the barman knowing precisely “the usual” when Palm and his collaborators end up being served.

In Solitude, Ghost, Pig Eyes, Gösta Berlings Saga, Södra Sverige, SPHYNX, Viagra Boys and the gang of Necro Invest with Poison Idea, Nord & Sid, the Bear Quartet, Switchblade, Paper and Horndal stepping into that pub — are a resume worthy of deep introspective reflection when examining the output of Mr. Palm.

The mundane made idiosyncratic—Palm’s third full length opens with “Instrumental Funeral” evoking the death of any seemingly preconceived notions of what may hold for the next forty or so minutes. The bite of Stooges’ Raw Power sinks its teeth in with “Subway Morgue”; Ozzy, King and Snake wrestling with Iggy in a filthy metro. There is an undercurrent of 80’s pyrotechnics with synths that ride this speeding train, but the planet is unfamiliar. There is a texture of a wrinkled Creepshow magazine here, as though recited by Jaz Coleman as the locomotive speeds into the “Lunch Hour (of the Wolf)”. The rumble of the iron on the rails doesn’t let up and builds into a crescendo of crunching bass, howls and sax.

“Talismanic Love” recalls extended enigmatic acoustic and vocal passages of a duet between Geoff Tate and Magazine, sitting in a foreboding wash of MBV. This planet has lakes and lava alike—with the terrain reminiscent of earth, but not quite. “Swim to the Light” takes the self-awareness into the stratosphere through the vegetation of doom-scrolling, dystopian internet culture and Voivod-isms. The work is hooky but has a sardonic sting—fitting both an 81’ Firebird ride and a liftoff in a spaceship made of aluminum, repeating the final cadence into infinity. “From the Grave” starts off like an outtake from DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise with staccato piano and ritualistic drumming. Julia Hanberg’s[?] vocals offset the weight of the fractured rhythm with an angelic softness only to fall into a pit of sax as night falls with the cinematic organ dragging you back into the aforementioned grave.

As the dirt is piled on and dust circles around in slow motion, the rocks and silt falling like a waterfall into the cave in the earth—there is a certain playful transcendence with “Back to Abnormal”. The xylophone rings out while the circling analog synth alludes to the wind kicking around as the UFO lifts off the ground. There is an old-timey tune heard through a broken speaker of a Swedish radio in the swirling of the elements.

Here comes the epic end. “Many Days” summons an Alice Cooper-esque rock opera funneled through an unevenly cut piece of celluloid. Uplifting yet dark, there is a melancholic undertone of the Let Love In’s and Do You Love Me’isms. Apropos solo that closes out the final inflection with a burst of chaos. The album has a visual force to it—akin to the multiple exposure scene that the cover evokes, Nerd Icon asks—was it all a hallucination or reality?