Protagonist, The – Interim

After several years The Protagonist is back with a sign of life. Magnus Sundström has been busy with his other project Des Esseintes and his label Fin de Siècle, but luckily he now found the time to focus on new Protagonist material. The debut album “A rebours” (1998) is one of my favourite albums, so I was curious what The Protagonist would have to offer us this time. The title of this 4-track mini cd, which comes in a nice digipack, is “Interim”, so I guess this should be regarded as an intermediate station, perhaps in anticipation of a full album.

The first song ‘Strife’ displays a very percussive, bombastic sound, coming near to Sophia or In Slaughter Native. Quite overwhelming. In general the new material seems to be somewhat heavier than the debut album.
On ‘Sacrifice’ the heavy martial percussion and threatening horn sound is accompanied by a flowing neo-classical melody, like I have come to expect from the Protagonist. Dramatic and compelling.
‘Der wahnsinn’ is a fitting title. This orchestral track sounds very filmic. I imagine the protagonist of a black & white movie being chased by a madman though the narrow alleys of a decaying city.
The last piece, ‘La fin de la journée’, is the only song on this EP which features (spoken) vocals, by Marjorie Stievenart. The text is taken from Baudelaire’s “Les fleurs du mal”, with which The Protagonist moves on the same decadent territory as on “A rebours”. A slow and moving composition, in the line of some In the Nursery soundtrack material. I hope that on an eventual full-length album more will be done with vocals, because that creates the necessary variation.

With “Interim” The Protagonist does not offer revolutionary new insights, but the EP certainly convinces with solid material.

artist: Protagonist, The
label: Cold Meat Industry
details: 4 tracks, 21 min, 2005 [cmi 145]