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Sweden has emerged in the late 1990s as the European epicenter of dark, moody drum'n'bass. It does not, frankly, get much darker or moodier than this. Darchives (whose real name is Niclas Hall) comes from the city of Uppsalia, and if the music here is anything to go by, Uppsalia must be a very cold, gloomy city. That's not to say that the music Darchives makes isn't interesting and even enjoyable -- on the contrary, Scenario's five extended tracks are full of sonic surprises, rhythmic complexity, and even moments of genuine beauty. Most of these compositions are purely instrumental, but "Melted Like Snow" features a poem dealing with the Angel of Death and offers lines like "the eyes of the sleepers waxing deadly and chill." What would be an oppressively gloomy mood is, in this case, lightened considerably by effortlessly, funky breakbeats and clouds of shimmery synth chords. Elsewhere, "Razor Sharp" combines samples of electric keyboards and blues harmonica with the usual synthetic drum patterns to compelling effect. "Hideout," the album's longest and best track, uses a minimalist breakbeat and twisted bassline to build up a huge head of steam that never gets released. Very impressive.

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