Henry Kane – Age Of The Idiot (Transcending Obscurity Records)

When he’s not cooking up sizzling death metal with Wombbath, Ashcloud, Bezerker Legion and more, Jonny Pettersson (somehow) still finds time for Henry Kane,  a solo project where – with the exception of some guest vocals – he calls all the shots.   

2017’s Den Förstörda Människans Rike album set the tone: a melee of crust, grind and death, it saw him unleash total aural destruction via some hellishly catch tunes.  

And with Age Of The Idiot, the Swede has taken that album’s blueprint and gone several steps further.

An exercise in grim nihilism, the album is a perfect soundtrack to our increasingly dystopian times, taking the vicious Scandi hardcore of Skitsystem and Wolfbrigade and smashing it into abrasive, brutally heavy grind a la Nasum or Rotten Sound. Chuck in some acidic death riffs and no shortage of songwriting suss and you have a record full of cluster bombs, a napalm strike aimed at our polarized, poisoned and hate-filled society.

You might think that 18 tracks – plus a rabble rousing cover of Psykopaten by Swedish punks Asta Kask – would be a little ambitious, but Pettersson has applied some strict quality control here. Indeed, from the scuzzy opening riff of En evig plågan and subsequent blastbeat attack, you’re in for a memorable pummelling.  

The title track is a particular highlight, as the multi-instrumentalist hooks you in with a stirring, blackened punk anthem, and Take It Back sees Pettersson harness HC’s wild energy to devastating effect.

Yet Age Of The Idiot is also soaked through with melancholy: amongst the Molotov cocktails of Disposable Humans and No Road to Redemption you’ll discover moments of soul-churning sadness – By The Virtue Of Hate is a case in point.

With a CV rivalling the likes of Shane Embury for artistic output, Pettersson must be mainlining some pretty potent creative juices. And with one listen to Age Of The Idiot you’ll realise (if you haven’t already) just how much of a talent he is.

Grind/crust record of the year? It’s certainly going to be a contender.