The Hanged Man – “The Island” (Stereogum Premiere)

It begins with a single oppressive note, something that sounds like a swarm of angry bees rushing forth from the depths of some bottomless unknown. Rebecka Rolfart cuts through that darkness like a surgical knife, cold and clinical. Her deep-throated vocals carry an icy emotional resonance, and she can create whole worlds within a pause. Built around a spiraling guitar that reaches glacial heights, “The Island” is a standout from her upcoming debut mini-album as the Hanged Man. She operates in the same realm as Swedish contemporaries Fever Ray and jj, taking liberally from the chilly Scandinavian metal world and its thawed pop opposite. She brings her own flair to the proceedings: a reverence for mysticism, and an appreciation for the dramatic. “The Island” is dense but not isolating. Instead, it’s sultry and seductive — you hesitantly follow Rolfart into shadowy uncharted territory, and straight into the devil’s house. It’s alluring to be one with darkness, freeing in some ways. The Hanged Man may operate in the underworld, but it’s very much playing above the surface, and willing to allow you in if you let it. Listen below.

The Hanged Man’s debut mini-album First Quarter Moon is out 11/10 via Kning Disk/Telegram Studios.