Susanna Flower of Evil

Susanna Flower of Evil
If Susanna Wallumrød has proven anything it's that she knows a thing or two about tackling a cover tune. In Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, the Norwegian songstress has repeatedly taken on the work of others, giving dark, goth-lite makeovers to everyone from Joy Division to Dolly Parton to Leonard Cohen. It's a move that's garnered Wallumrød more than a little praise in recent years and that's likely to continue with her second solo effort, Flower of Evil. With only two out of the 13 tracks being Wallumrød originals, the album is essentially a covers record that includes songs by artists such as Lou Reed, Tom Petty, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Prince and Will Oldham (who also contributes vocals to two Flower covers). It's an electric range of material, for sure, yet that hardly hurts the record's cohesiveness. Each track is delivered as a stark, atmosphere-heavy package sealed with minimal guitar/piano arrangements and - the album's main draw - Wallumrød's powerful vocal theatrics, which give a heart-wrenching quality to any song they touch, even Abba's "Lay All Your Love on Me." Flower of Evil can be a bit of an emotionally taxing listen but it's also a solid one. (Rune Grammofon)