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Requiem: ADRESTIA’s final reflection on humanity’s darker sides

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Today, Swedish crust metal punks Adrestia return with their farewell album, “Requiem“, which is an uncompromising look at the darker aspects of human nature and contemporary social and political issues.

Last year, we hosted Adrestia when they premiered the video for “Ticking Bombs” featuring Tomas Jonsson of ANTI CIMEX. That release, like the previous ones, focused on their signature blend of crust punk and death metal. However, “Requiem” is something else – it is an intense, personal journey through inner demons, political disillusionment, and social inequities.

Each track on the album reflects various musical influences and deeply thought-out lyrics that address themes such as species extinction, political hypocrisy, religious extremism, personal crises, and ecological crimes. “Thylacine Blues” refers to the extinction of the Tasmanian tiger as a symbol of human arrogance and colonial crimes, while “My Enemy’s Enemy Is Still My Enemy” criticizes both the far-right in Sweden and Islamism, highlighting the complexity of the fight for human rights.

Throughout the album, the themes of loss and endings – personal, social, and ecological – are prevalent. With their characteristic uncompromising approach and sensitivity, Adrestia delivers a powerful farewell that forces reflection on the state of the world and the human condition.

“Requiem” is not only a grand summary of their work, but also an important voice in the discussion about the future of our society. To understand it better, we asked the band to share their in-depth track by track commentary, and we’re honored to share it in its full glory below.

Adrestia’s lineup for this album includes Elma Roth Sandell on vocals and bass, Martin Shukevich on vocals and guitar, Mattias Laungeville on guitar, and Simon Lindström on drums.


1. Thylacine Blues

I composed the songs for this final album during a period of maybe four months, which is a relatively short time compared to our earlier albums. During that time I was listening a lot to thrash metal, especially old Metallica, Lost Society, Slayer and Nervosa. That influenced my song writing to a sometimes quite big extent, and I think that’s apparent in this song.
The intro was written by Jack back in 2016. I always wanted to include it in a song, but I always thought that the intro was so good, so I had a hard time coming up with a song that would match it.

Thylacine blues was just a working title at first, but I got so used to it so I decided to write lyrics that actually worked with the title. I’ve always had a fascination for rare species of animals, especially those who unfortunately aren’t around anymore. I also think that the horrible story of the extinction of the Thylacine (which I guess should be seen as a part of the even more horrible story about the colonization of Australia and Tasmania) tells a lot about the darker side of us humans, how easily we can convince ourselves that something or someone who happen to stand in our way doesn’t have the right to exist anymore.


2. My Enemy’s Enemy Is Still My Enemy

In Sweden there is a party called Sverigedemokraterna. They were founded by Nazis in the 1980:s, but nowadays they want to present themselves as a normal party. That strategy doesn’t work very well because of the large number of scandals with party representatives making racist statements.
Sverigedemokraterna’s biggest target at the moment is the muslim population of Sweden. They have called islam the biggest threat to Sweden since World War 2, and they make lots of statements both against muslims and against political islam – Islamism.

I’m a huge supporter of Rojava, the democratic enclave in northern Syria. During my work with Punks For Rojava, and during all the time I spent reading, learning and discussing with Kurdish friends, I soon realized that the biggest threat to Rojava is Islamism. In the Rojava context, that means the ideology of Turkey’s and Iran’s regimes, as well as the ideology of the Islamic state. Erdogan’s regime for example has been attacking and terrorizing Rojava during its whole existence. They provided support for different terror groups in Syria, groups that fight for sharia laws, and who share many beliefs with the Islamic State. Personally I see Islamism as a kind of religious fascism, an extremely dangerous ideology that wants to deprive people of their human rights.

However, in Sweden it’s hard to criticize Islamism without being accused of having extreme right wing beliefs, because many people believe that everyone who is against Sverigedemokraterna needs to take the opposite position, no matter the issue. Also, many people do not know the difference between islam and Islamism, and therefore they might think that if you criticize islamism, you criticize all muslims. That’s ridiculous of course, and the most ridiculous thing is that if islamists and Sverigedemokraterna’s supporters would discuss human rights, HBTQ-people, democracy, freedom of speech and so on, they would have almost identical beliefs.

We actually had an incident when we were playing a song called F*ck Islamism in Gothenburg 2 years ago. Apparently some people reacted on the song title, and because they thought we were “islamophobes” we got canceled from a festival later that year. That’s pretty funny, considering the fact that we initiated the Punks For Rojava network and gathered a lot of support for Rojava- a region almost entirely made up from people of muslim background.

I also think that the whole fear of criticizing certain religions is ridiculous. If there is no god, all of what is left of religion is ideology, and as long as there is free speech people should be allowed to criticize or mock any ideology.

3. Each Day I Die

The last years of Adrestia’s existence wore me out completely. Being “the sober guy at the party” is maybe ok for one evening, but when it turned into an everyday life situation it became too much for me.

In the end I sank into a deep depression as I started to realize that the movement and the lifestyle that I’ve dedicated many years to wasn’t really for me anymore.

The song in itself is maybe the most classical d-beat song on the record, even if you can hear the Metallica influences in the second part.


4. Where Gods Die

I’ve always enjoyed writing songs that break the standard patterns of what crust punk “should” sound like. I guess this song, with clean vocals and 7/4 rhythms in the bridge, is a good example of that. Linda, who has remained one of my best friends since we were teenagers, sang the verses while Elma did the bridge and the chorus.
Lyric wise the song is about science killing off religious myths by disproving them.

5. Smear Campaign

“What chance does reason stand against the rage of narcissists?
What chance do facts stand in the eyes of fundamentalists?”

Have you ever tried to use logic and facts in discussions with people who act and react entirely on emotions? It doesn’t work. Something that I’ve also learned by time is that many people are more likely to agree with someone who expresses strong emotions than someone who sticks to facts and logic. Personally I’m not much for people who embark on emotional crusades when their beliefs collide with reality.


6. The End Is Forever

Jack wrote and recorded this beautiful piece of instrumental music for our first album back in 2016. It was recorded by Angus Norder (Witchery/Nekrokraft), who also created our farewell video, as well as the lyric video for The More I See The Less I Believe.

7. Ein Brief An Mein Jüngeres Ich

“Nur wenn alles
Was du bist
Gestorben ist
Kannst du leben”

The title means “a letter to my younger self”, and the lyrics of this song are probably the most depressing lyrics I’ve ever written. It’s about coming to the conclusion that many of the thoughts, dreams and goals that my younger self had turned into obstacles by time. In the end, my will to stay true to those ideals and to follow those dreams kept me from developing and thinking freely. In the end I had to reach the bottom to finally see things clearly.

Sometimes it’s better to let your dreams burn than to follow them.


8. The More I See, The Less I Believe

“I´ve got something to say
I gave up today
I didn’t wanna see it
But I’ve wasted years away”

Requiem is Adrestia’s farewell album, but to me personally it’s not just the end of a band, it’s the final album that I will ever make with any band. This song is maybe as close to a farewell song as it gets.
Many years ago I was on tour in France, and I traded my Tragedy t-shirt for a t-shirt with a DIY screenprint of two skeletons clinking glasses under a banner on which it says “I love you, fuck off”. I guess that pretty much sums it up.

For some years these kinds of songs, with that Black Sabbath-shuffle-like drumbeat, were so common in the crust scene that I hesitated until now before incorporating such elements into our music. I think it turned out well though, it’s probably my favorite song on the record.

I was so happy that Jack came back to the band to record this final album. He’s been drumming on all our releases except for the split LP with Collapsed, and since me and him started the band together it felt great that we got to finish it together.


A funny thing is that we didn’t rehearse any of the songs before entering the studio. Jack just listened to the pre-recorded demo versions that I had recorded at home with programmed drums, and then he played the songs part by part to pre-recorded guitar tracks. It took a lot of time of course, but I think that especially on this song you can hear what a great drummer he really is.


9. The Likes Of You And I

Elma sings almost everything on this album, even though most of the lyrics are very personal för me. At the time of writing and recording I didn’t have enough self esteem to be able to sing, and I also wasn’t able to stand the sound of my own voice. Fortunately, Elma is a way better vocalist than I will ever be, and I think that her vocal performance in this song is amazing.

“The likes of you and I
We lack roots
That’s why we always need
To feel new ground under our boots

You see the likes of you and I
We don’t know what we’re searching for
Peace of mind? A heart of gold? A home?
A reason to go to war?”


10. Grindadrap

Grindadrap is the name of the whale hunt in the Faroe islands, where pods of white sided Dolphins or pilot whales – usually numbering 60 to 100 – are corralled into a fjord and then dragged on shore with hooks and “slaughtered” one by one. It’s a barbaric practice, and the emotional and physical torture that the animals have to endure before they die should be hard to justify even for people who eat meat (I don’t).

Whale meat contains high levels of toxins and mercury, and is not even fit for human consumption. In recent years there have been lots of reports of whale carcasses being dumped back into the ocean – something which clearly shows that the whale hunt isn’t about food anymore – it’s about the killing itself.

Göran from SOD as well as my daughter (who was 6-years old at the time) recorded backing vocals for the track. I think it’s a nice final track of the final album.


Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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