“…You won’t see this operation performed very often… it has absolutely no medical value” — Dr. Benway.
Sweden’s Agent Side Grinder find themselves trapped in a nightmarish asylum with their feverish new single, “Waiting Room”. The highly catchy darkwave-meets-techno-meets-industrial track emotes the feeling of madness within oppression. These Stockholm gents evoke the Beat Generation with their signature blend of sonic mayhem. The lyrics for “Waiting Room” are an outcry of desperation, as they weave a sordid tale of purgatory and limbo, closing in on insanity.
The disturbing video, directed by Haris Mlivic, was shot on location in a real abandoned mental asylum: Säter Mentalsjukhus. This particular institution, built in 1912 and once a forerunner for Swedish psychiatric study, fell victim to the same perils as most operations of its kind (read: lack of funding and support) throughout the 20th century. For nearly 80 years, the ward was used for treatment of dangerous and difficult patients suffering from various degrees of mental illness.
During the 1930s, Sweden implemented strict eugenics-based treatment methods such as forced sterilization and lobotomy on those deemed “unfit to reproduce.” As institutionalization evolved toward more compassionate outpatient care and developed successful psychoactive treatments, the need for the Säter Mentalsjukhus complex waned. Closed for the last 30 years, Säter Mentalsjukhus has since become a destination for urban explorers and artists curious about its past.
We all find ourselves in various prisons – some of our own making, some of society’s; some real, some imagined. That urgency comes through in the emotionally charged, frantic pace of this song. You can feel this horror radiate from the footage in the video for Waiting Room as the band members aimlessly skitter about under sensory-affecting strobe lights. We also hear intermittent samples from stock footage coming through the airwaves; a nightmarish PA announcement from another time. The video also captures the desperation, angst, and claustrophobia of institutional existence, as if channeling the long-departed spirits trapped there and exposing them to freedoms long denied them.
A great performance. Check it out now…if you dare!
Waiting Room is the lead track from their forthcoming album Jack Vegas, out in early 2023, which was recorded and co-produced by former member Henrik Sunbring and released on Progress Productions.
Follow Agent Side Grinder: