Let's Go To Hell

Simon Steensland

What a problem child that Progressive sound can be. It so polarizes the music listening […]
By Matt Bozenda
February 7, 2022
Simon Steensland - Let's Go To Hell album cover

What a problem child that Progressive sound can be. It so polarizes the music listening public, and that's before you get into the subgenre infighting which can even further isolate fans from each other and foster resentment and even anger, may the Metal Gods help us all. We here at Metal Temple, however, have no interest in such politics, as it is our job only to assess and review and maybe even offer insight into new releases in the broad base of metal music. Thus, whether or not you were giddy with anticipation over the release of SIMON STEENSLAND's latest solo release "Let's Go To Hell" or if you were entirely unaware of it, we're not going to judge you, we just want you to know how it went.

At first glance, one might think of Psychedelic powerhouse EARTHLESS, as this album contains a mere three tracks, but each one is between sixteen and nineteen minutes long. Unlike EARTHLESS, however, the dynamism of "Let's Go To Hell" is far more drawn out, and is not delivered in a constant drive but rather slowly, piece by piece. Experimental though they are, the three songs do have similar characteristics. The classic synth-heavy approach brings to mind the soundtracks of old CR-ROM horror games from the 90's, at least as each one starts. After the first few minutes, each song then begins to change what they do, adopting new instruments and occasionally taking a Minimalist stance, usually doing so by the halfway marks.

All three tracks also seem to get more disturbing as they continue. "Schrödinger's Friend", for example, continuously ascends with each measure through the final few minutes, then abruptly cuts into a thirty second fadeout. A voice like a syreen comes in on "The Flagellant March", adding an unsettling air while the song vacillates between drum-heavy beats and a heavily filtered guitar. An entirely different siren and an out-of-sync singing voice with a tolling church bell are bad enough on "Zombie B. Goode" until a fakeout fade is shunted away by agonizing screams. In line with the album's name, the final eighty seconds is what it must sound like when Heaven decides to reject you.

That said, it seems unlikely that any but the most seasoned Prog veterans will even take notice of "Let's Go To Hell". With the unconventional structure and extreme length, it can really only reach the devoted audience which came to hear it anyway. Even outside observers who tolerated "Echoes" from PINK FLOYD will have a hard time getting into it, as none of the three songs have the sheer accessibility. So then, if this sort of thing interests you, "Let's Go To Hell" is a vibrant and wide-ranging Progressive album which gets a bit Metal, as well as a bit Minimalist. Sweden's own SIMON STEENSLAND has been in the game for quite some time, and just before the pandemic swept in, his collaboration with J.G. THIRLWELL (of FOETUS and "Venture Bros" fame), entitled "Oscillospira" was released to positive reviews from the Progressive community. For the ones who care to know, this album is a must-have.

As for everyone else, well... catch up on your YES discography first.

7 / 10









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"Let's Go To Hell" Track-listing:

1. Schrödinger's Friend
2. The Flagellant March
3. Zombie B. Goode

Simon Steensland Lineup:

Simon Steensland - All Instruments

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