Upsala must be akin to Hell, or at least close enough, given that this Swedish city spawned both Watain and In Solitude. But while the former’s devil music is feral in form and aggressive through-and-through, the latter takes a more melodic, albeit conceivably more sinister, approach.

Take the title of In Solitude’s newest release, Sister. Frontman Pelle Åhman and company turn this term of endearment into a cancer, prickling with understated evil. They summon the darkness with the delicate opener “He Comes” before unleashing hell with a razor-sharp litany of offenses. The following seven tracks are bathed in a nightmarish haze, but the heaviness isn’t found in blast beats or hyperactive guitar shredding. Rather, In Solitude dress their dark message in the guise of accessible, infectious metal that latches on, breaks the skin, and then festers.

Sister is dramatic and buzzing like a jigsaw on high, its metal grooves sharpened on goth and new wave. It is In Solitude’s finest, darkest work to date. Thank you, Upsala.

Sister is out now on Metal Blade Records.

Rating: 4/5 Stars