Grave Flowers Bongo Band-Strength Of Spring (2021 Castleface Records)

Spring is in the air! You can smell the booming blossom on the trees, birds are singing songs like their lives depend on it (which is true, when you think about it), and the feeling of a new year and new hope are simmering through the world. Everybody knows spring is also volatile and flighty, those blossom flowers will be blown to the ground with the next strong gush of wind. Soon it will be summer, tanning those fresh green leaves and slowing all those newly invented plans down with its stifling heat.

But for now, let’s just enjoy The Strength Of Spring, its joy of life, its naive jumpiness. Los Angeles’ post-hippies Grave Flowers Bongo Band have really caught on with those sentiments and written a positively psychedelic album that is light-hearted but not frivolous, and an an album that is smart but not in a hipster way.

The nine songs within half an hour are over before you can say King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, a band whose tentacular riffage and galloping drums echo all around here. Grave Flowers Bongo band are centered around the acoustic guitar though, which gives them a much mellower edge. It also makes for a sturdy character that helps them stand out from the neo-psych crowd. It’s not hard to see why Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer picked them up.

The only deeply regrettable thing about The Strength Of Spring is that it, like spring itself, is much too short. Unlike the seasons we can put it on repeat though, and enjoy its joyful sounds to our hearts’ content.

Dope Purple- Grateful End (2021 Riot Season Records)

I love a lot about the new Dope Purple album Grateful End, but perhaps the thing I hold most dear about it are the quiet parts. The hazy, bluesy meanderings at the start of songs that will later on most likely erupt into noisy psychout volcanoes. I love the way guitar feedback mimics dolphin sonar while the vocals wail unintelligible shamanic gibberish washed out with holy reverb.

There are four songs on Grateful End, opener My Evilness being my personal favorite. When you close your eyes you will be able to see the band standing quietly on a smoke filled stage, their long black hair waving in the warm summer breeze. The atmosphere is dense, the amount of smoke emanating from the stage drowns in the amount that steams from the audience below, and gradually building, a guitar starts setting itself on fire.

Cosmic Rock Is Not Dead is next, simply proving its point. It’s Dope Purple jamming, vocals wailing, and the over-distorted guitars swelling until breaking point, after which a mind-boggling hunt to the end of the song kicks the whole thing into orbit. Repeat it until it breaks seems to be the adagium, after which you can build up again and start anew.

The Last Days Of Humanity starts off with another one of those mesmerizing singing dolphin-ridden intros. It’s the beauty and quiet blues after the distortion blizzard that feels like such a holiday in the sun, you might want it to last forever. Alas, there is an apocalypse to catch! So onwards we fly, uptempo, distorted guitars gyrating into oblivion.

Album closer New Man brings on a strong Stooges vibe, with a heavy freakout stoner boogie that’ll get your feet tapping like a crazy person. It’s a short rager, like the band wanted to give a farewell salute and ending the album and the world with a big, ugly bang; even going full blast beat near the end. It’s a good way to end this enigmatic little record, an experience that leaves your mind sizzling and your ears ringing.

I had so many questions after listening to Grateful End on repeat for a bunch of rounds! Luckily band member and main composer K.P. Liu was friendly enough to provide some much needed context:

Hi Dope Purple! Can you please introduce yourself to the ignorant weirdoes out there? And how did you choose your name?

I’m K.P. Liu from Dope Purple. 
The following answers are my answers to your questions as a composer, which are mainly my personal thoughts and do not represent all members of Dope Purple. Dope Purple is a five-piece psychedelic rock band that started its activities in Taipei, Taiwan in 2016. The musicianship is influenced by Western Hard Rock and Japanese Noise Psychedelic Rock. The name Dope Purple fulfills all three criteria: one is easy to remember, the second is easy to understand the musicality from the name, and the third is to attract people’s attention. Our musicianship is mainly guitar solos, with speedy riffs, and a psychedelic freak out, so I thought the band would become a psychedelic noise rock version of Deep Purple, and I came up with this name. I also hope that old fans of 70’s rock will listen to our music, as well as young fans who have never heard of 70’s rock will listen to Deep Purple’s music.


How has this Covid year been for you as a band? What changed, what stayed the same?

Since the Taiwanese government’s response to Covid was successful, there was only a short period of time when live events were restricted in Taiwan, so fortunately there was no serious impact on the band’s live activities so far. However, because our recording engineer is Japanese, and the label and vinyl factory are all overseas, there was a lot of influence from the perspective of making the album.


You are from Taiwan, how has living and being a musician in your country influenced you musically? 

Actually I (K.P. Liu) have roots in Japan and Taiwan, so my music is influenced by both Japan and Taiwan. In Japan I met Acid Mothers Temple, Hibushire, and other musicians in the underground rock scene, which formed my vision and know-how of Rock music. In Taiwan, I am more influenced by the noise musicians in Taiwan, which shaped my view on sound. I am a foreigner in both Japan and Taiwan, and because of this sense of isolation, I don’t want to make music that focuses on traditional culture or traditional music from one‘s own country, so Dope Purple tries to remove the obvious color of Orientalism. In terms of musicality, only the loud noise and chaos of our sound reflect the influence of Asian society on me.


I heard there is a “scene” where you live, can you tell me about it? Any bands or venues that are worth mentioning?

Taiwan’s scene is characterized by a relatively small population of musicians, so many of them play in other bands at the same time, so Taiwan’s scene looks like it has a number of bands, but the reality is that there are not that many musicians in the scene. In Dope Purple’s case, Jiun Chi (guitar) also plays in the psychedelic rock duo Mong Tong (https://gurugurubrain.space/collections/mong-tong), and Yunhao (synthesizer) plays in Afrobeat’s group Island Futurism (https://islandfuturism.bandcamp.com). Dope Purple usually plays in Taipei’s venue Revolver. The reason we play here is that the sound is better than other venues and we don’t have to pay a venue fee. Revolver basically accepts all types of musicians, it doesn’t seem to have its own “scene”, and We don’t often play with regular bands either, so it seems like Dope Purple doesn’t belong to any scenes of the Rock band. Also, there is a vinyl record store in Taipei called Senko Issha (we have released albums from there), and there are some awesome noise players here (please check out Senko Issha’s Bandcamp: https://senko-issha.bandcamp.com), and I personally interact with them quite often.

Island Futurism’s debut album that released early this year


Can you tell me about the writing process for Grateful End? I reckon there was quite a bit of jamming involved? How much was “written” and how much was improvised?

Dope Purple’s “songs” are all written by me, but what I actually do is provide a basic riff to the band, and the rule of playing Dope Purple is that we mainly follow the riff and do whatever we want on it. In other words, Dope Purple only uses one or two steps per song, and each step is a refrain of a single riff, on which all the members improvise, so it’s all improvisation except for the riff and a few specific melodies. This is because we all hate to practice and memorize scores. The advantage of this approach is that we all play a regular “song”, but we can still improvise at the same time. I think this approach is probably closer to jazz improvisation.
Because We improvise on all of our songs, so we use live recordings when we’re making the album. Grateful End also uses live recordings (we used two live recordings at Revolver), but the direction of Grateful End is to use live recordings to make a “studio” album, that is, we recorded with the sounds of each instrument, and then we added some work to the mix and mastering. so although the playing is completely based on live performance, it doesn’t sound like a live recording (especially the vinyl remix, in which I think the sounds become better than the CD, closer to the sound I originally intended). In other words, Dope Purple is doing live and recordings of every show.

Jiun Chi’s band Mong Tong

I love the way the vocals were recorded, very savage-like 😉 Did you try anything special to record them this way? 

Thanks, I was singing with Boss’ Reverb knobs set to maximum and then connected to the microphone.


What about the lyrical themes? Grateful End sounds a bit apocalyptic, is that the general idea? Is there a certain message you have to the world?

About the general idea, I wrote it on the Bandcamp page, please take a look. (https://riotseasonrecords.bandcamp.com/album/grateful-end)When I sing, I basically improvise, and although I sing some of the lyrics in Japanese, I don’t even know what I’m singing and the meaning. I think that behind my singing there is a “failure to communicate”. Because of language and cultural limitations, the loud sound of the instrument, I believe the lyrics are not properly understood by the audience. Therefore, I do not pay special attention to the “lyrics” with reason, but rather I believe that the ” shouting” with the feeling of a person transcends language, culture, and time and space. That’s why I write all the things I want to express in words on the Bandcamp page or FB page, not on the lyrics which can be easily misunderstood.


How did you came in contact with your label Riot Season? And what can you tell me about the WV Sorcerer label?

We didn’t contact Riot Season ourselves, it seems that Riot Season’s owner heard our recording somewhere and contacted us at the beginning of 2020, asking if we wanted to reissue the vinyl. Because we all love Riot Season’s work, we said yes immediately. (WV also joined the re-release of the vinyl later.) The owner of WV Sorcerer label is Ruotan, he is a Chinese living in France, he also makes noise music. In the past, he came to Taiwan to do live in Senko Issha, so I have a lot of mutual friends with him. Because of this he has the opportunity to hear our previous works released in Senko Issha, and We released Grateful End on CD and cassette from his label, WV Sorcerer mainly releases more experimental music of East Asia. I think the political situation in East Asia are not ideal for musicians, we really need the support of people like him.


What is your biggest dream for the future? And what are your immediate future plans?

The ultimate goal is to play Dope Purple until old age, and I want to achieve a certain kind of truth through playing music,
The immediate future plans are to release a new album next year and to tour overseas after the epidemic is finished.

Review + Interview: Heave Blood & Die – Post People (2021 Fysisk Format)

Post People is an album that immediately draws a million images from my head through its name alone. Thematically, musically, and simply because it was released in these austere and turbulent times I reckon anyone can figure out what it could mean. And yet listening to it, I am relieved to find it still leaves it all to personal interpretation and mood.

I get a creepy feeling of a generation of people surviving this planet in post-nuclear times. A song like Radio Silence echoes this vibe; “what if there’s no transmission on the airwaves anymore?”. The song is followed by the contemplative Kawanishi Aeroplane which breathes a similar emptiness and desperate reminiscence; “what if you flew the very last airplane over an empty world?”. You might go mad, and it might sound a bit like the frenzied dance punk of Metropolitan Jam, a song that takes the electric postpunk vibes of a band like Killing Joke and mixes it up with frenetic psychedelic swirls more at home with a band like The Black Angels.

More than any of their influences, be it postpunk, postmetal, or otherwise, Heave Blood & Die sound like a band finding their own identity and jamming their own jams. Their name betrays the fact that they used to be a much more savage beast, yet the rough skin they shedded on Post People is more than compensated by a deep glacier of artistic depth. These Northerners have literally grown from angry teenagers into intelligent, seasoned, and self-minded young adults. Their concept is incredibly well thought-through, and they sound self-aware and urgent without becoming hipster or arrogant at any time. Post People is a bit of masterpiece to my ears, and a definite highlight of this -still young- year.

I had the honor and pleasure to be able to send the band some questions:

Hi guys, how have you been? How do you feel now you have just released Post People?

We are doing fine. I don`t know, it doesn’t feel spectacular to release a record without the social aspect of day to day life.

I can imagine you had/have some great touring plans, how do you deal with that these days? And a question that popped up in my head: how would you incorporate your earlier album material in a setlist? 

We have a “Covid-tour” in Norway in not too long, playing shows in front of a seated audience consisting of 30-50 people is not what we imagined when we initially set out to create this record, but it’s a lot better than nothing. 

We did a show in our hometown Tromsø just before christmas, and we played a couple of older songs there. It’s slightly hard to incorporate those songs, but there’s a couple of songs that are more “posty” that are easier to do with the newer songs.

Post People means a huge change in musical style for you, in fact I don’t think I can think of a band in recent history that made a bigger shift from heavy sludge metal to your current form. It’s quite amazing! How did that come about?

Thank you! For us it’s about growth, that never ending process that goes on inside of the brain somewhere. The sludge thing was something we started doing when we were 16 and wrote our first record, we were about 18 when we wrote the second record and I think there’s a lot of minor references on that record, that point to what we would grow into, to where we are right now. We`re really lucky that we`ve been able to grow together as a band, instead of quitting and starting new bands everytime we feel like we want to explore new territory.

What influence did the pandemic have on the writing process of Post People. I mean, it fits the current atmosphere very well considering both in music and lyrical content. Would this record have sounded the same without Corona?

I think it’s very realistic to think that any situation, minor or major, will influence the outcome of just about anything. I wrote a lot of foundations for songs alone at home or at our rehearsal place, instead of with the whole band, it’s not far from what we usually would do, but it’s different to build something in the studio instead of having more fleshed out songs from the get go.

I think I hear some Killing Joke influences, there is definitely some post rock there, but other than that Post People really has a unique sound. Did you look at any other bands or influences during the writing process?

There’s a lot of projects that influenced this record, I was really hung up on Preoccupations when I was writing songs, so we ended up having Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) mix the record, which I must say ended up really cool. A lot of shoegaze inspirations, plenty of Dusseldorf style rock and of course more modern kraut such as Viagra Boys (Especially the “Call Of The Wild” EP) and Squid. I think that the main reason the album is so broad is that we`re a bunch of different people with different tastes in the same band, and I like it a lot, it’s an express card to a place where you are alone in your own soundscape, if that makes any sense.

You were presented by your press release as an “anti capitalist” band, how does that translate to your day to day business being in a band?

The band operates within it and there’s not much to do other than using our voice and pointing out the flaws. Also focusing on having partners in the business that focus more on music and message, rather than profits.

How do you see the future? For your band, but also for the planet in say, the next five years?

Hopefully a couple of more albums down the line and out on tour. For the planet, I think it’s hard to say. For me the whole post-truth thing going on these days is really scary, and we just saw how much it could spiral out of control. 

You are from Tromsø, all the way in the North of Norway where you can see the Aurora Borealis, right? How does your geographical position influence Heave Blood & Die? 

That’s correct, yes. I think location has a lot to say, but I can’t say I understand how the arctic has influenced us directly, though I have heard people call our music maritime which is beautiful, all of northern Norway was basically just fish in the past.

Thanks a lot for your time, I wish you all the best for the future and I hope to see you at a venue in The Netherlands some time soon because your music deserves to be heard, you really need to bring it to the road, and I can’t imagine what it sounds like live!

Thank you! We would love to head for the Netherlands as soon as things turn back to normal.

The Antikaroshi- Extract.Transform.Debase (2021 Exile On Mainstream Records)

The Antikaroshi and I go way back. Last time I reviewed one of their albums was eleven years ago. I talked about PER/SON/ALIEN referencing bands like Fugazi and Quicksand, I mentioned their love of postrock and even some detours to krautrock. I only got to know about Slint quite some time later on, or I would probably have mentioned them as well. Over ten years later both me and the band have grown older, like me they are showing some grey hairs already, and like me the band still tries to stay far away from pigeonholing. Firmly rooted in the guitar 90s the band’s new work is still pretty much all over the place, and I really love them for it.

The Antikaroshi have taken their good time crafting Extract.Transform.Debase with which they have shown they are true to their original form. For karoshi means “to work yourself to death” in Japanese, and these German mathrockers have picked their moniker in protest of that notion. That’s not to say their music sounds lazy, quite on the contrary. Each song rests on multiple intentions, sometimes abruptly switching gears from Unwound to Kraftwerk within the same song (Hey You). Other songs are less weird, but they are all based on inventive ideas.

Personally I am mostly really grateful for the fact that The Antikaroshi and their label Exile On Mainstream are still around, and that they keep doing what they like to do without any thought to current hypes or trends. Check out music from label bands like Dyse, Bulbul, We Insist! and Beehoover and you’ll know what I mean. Every time they release new music it’s a celebration for out-of-the-box-lookers. We share that refusal to conform, and I see it as my pleasure and duty to support them.

The Armed- ULTRAPOP (2021 Sargent House)

The Armed are not who they choose to seem, or seem not how they chose to look. From the get go promoting their new ULTRAPOP album the band has been throwing up smoke and mirrors about their line-up, their names, and by generally representing themselves (read more about it here). A big problem if you tend to judge books by their covers, so I won’t spend too much time on it, let’s listen to the music in stead.

But again: starting out, from gazing at the orange/green cover to absorbing the first beat and hazy vocal melodies you get the feeling this band is messing with you. Have they really switched to glitchpop and electro beats? ULTRAPOP refuses to reveal its secrets at first, but then the jarring electronic distortion kicks in, the compression turned so far up you feel it in the back of your throat, and you know: yes, this band is messing with you. ALL FUTURES keeps on doing exactly that; a song so catchy it will definitely piss off all mathcore and metal purists, yet so acidic and radically produced it will never ever get played on the radio. And as if they knew only really open minded listeners would remain listening after this estranging mixture of pop and piss, MASUNGA VAPORS then follows to kick us when we are down, stomping us in the teeth Converge-style while remaining a certain uncanny electronic vibe…It’s schizophrenic, it’s obnoxious, it’s purposefully loud and compressed into oblivion, it’s like a painter’s palette with all neon colors drowning each other out…and yet you keep listening.

A LIFE SO WONDERFUL could have been a Weezer song, if the drummer wasn’t playing Nine Inch Nails tunes at double speed and the chorus wouldn’t consist of a choir of screaming zombies. AN ITERATION on the contrary takes it down a little, summoning images of the electro rock era with bands like The Faint, until the chorus again smashes that image to bits. BIG SHELL starts out like that lady from Crystal Castles had anything to do with, and then dives into a noise rock frenzy that is quite magnanimous. It is one of my personal highlights of the album, and a perfect example of how twisted and extreme this album really is. AVERAGE DEATH is another glitchrock scorcher that wouldn’t have been out of place on a latter day Dillinger Escape Plan album, while FAITH IN MEDICATION rather takes me back to the old screamo days of Orchid or the math-y sludgecore of Capsule, and is -again- quite marvelous at that too. WHERE MAN KNOWS WANT continues in raucous noise rock style, and is somehow…danceable? REAL FOLK BLUES again unleashes evil harpies on vocals, and all kinds of other sonic hell that you probably shouldn’t play to your mother in law on a Sunday.

BAD SELECTION switches the channel yet again, and now we are in an electroclash dancehall. Computer bleeps fly all around, but the chorus is actually the most radio friendly The Armed get on the entire album. I think it would be funny if this becomes a radio hit, just to see people’s faces when they hear the rest of the album. Not that they intended that scenario though, they added a black metal beat at the end just to make completely sure! THE MUSIC BECOMES THE SKULLS serves as an outro somewhat in the style of the opening, but grander and much darker. It is a fitting ending to this postnuclear piece of ultra pop madness.

ULTRAPOP is The Armed messing with your head time and time again in an attempt to create something that surprises and appalls at the same time. It’s like eating liquorice ice cream, or chocolate human fingers; it tastes sweet but it leaves you with an unnerving feeling something is brutally off. It’s an experience all right, and highly recommended for truly open-minded music consumers.

Motorpsycho- Kingdom Of Oblivion (2021 Stickman Records)

The cover of the new Motorpsycho record depicts mankind dead, covered in mushrooms, ready to be absorbed by nature and forgotten. We had our chance, we fucked up, we created this kingdom and will now slowly decay into oblivion. A harsh image, perhaps harsher then you might expect from these Norwegian progressive rock travellers, but then again, the planet is warming up, there is a pandemic going on, and it’s not like they haven’t warned us before…

Keep my sky blue//I know I need to//keep my hopes alive

And yet there is hope. Motorpsycho have once again summoned all their powers to tell us we can still change. They have spent the last four years completing their amazing trilogy The Tower, The Crucible, and The All Is One, and still they have found the creative energy to create another sonic warning sign. Personally I was a bit sceptic at first, because with a band this prolific surely there would be a moment when they have said everything they needed to say and they would start repeating themselves, but no.

Make your choices, choose wise choose well…

Kingdom Of Oblivion sounds very like the modern Motorpsycho you have come to know these past five/six years, and yet it doesn’t repeat anything. The songwriting is more on point than the looser jams of the trilogy, more riff based too. There are some really heavy 70s fueled guitar bangers like the title track and the USA critical The United Debased and perhaps the biggest and heaviest track they ever wrote both in title and in length: The Transmutation Of Cosmoctopus Lurker. As we know Motorpsycho, the influences are all over the place, ranging from early King Crimson tentacular prog to heavy Black Sabbath stomping, to subtler indie songwriting, and a lot in between. Perhaps the biggest reason why it is such a treat to listen to everything they do is the sheer joy they put in it, the craftsmanship on display, and yet the effortlessness of the performance. Taking all into account it is quite unbelievable Motorpsycho is able to produce so much quality music in so little time, but they do.

Give me my liberty or give me dead//give me my coke and my crystal meth//along with my booze until my last breath

Halfway through the album there’s a Floydian The Wall-like intermezzo with a creepy voice contemplating and warning: this is the end now, this is the end now, this is the end now…the album goes on though, and while song titles like Dreamkiller and At Empire’s End echo this prophecy of doom, you can’t help thinking Motorpsycho still see some light at the end of the tunnel. They found the fuel to warn us once more, more formidable and powerful than ever, so maybe now we’ll listen. If we don’t, then mankind will definitely have its Kingdom Of Oblivion.

The point of no return has finally passed, pushed over the edge…

Motorpsycho at least spoke out, had their say. It might not be too late for us. But if it is, and some future civilization will dig out this record they will hear a perfect echo of what this age of man was about: what great powers of creation we possess, and what great powers of destruction at the same time. Kingdom Of Oblivion feels like a band building a legacy, and I can’t find a more urgent and incredible album to listen to at this moment in time.

Credits: Kostymer: Teateratelier v Leo Thörn og Berit Haltvik With Masker lånt av Sjiraffen Kultusenter Assistenter: Øyvind Gregersen og Kristin Nordsæter Foto: Terje Visnes

Wolfen- The Mission (2021 Up In Her Room Records)

Dreamy music in general is mostly associated with good dreams: dream pop, dream like trance music, trippy stuff, good times. Wolfen (UK) undeniably makes dreamy music, but whether they are good dreams or nightmares still remains to be seen…

Consisting of members of British trip conveyors Korb and vocalist/multi instrumentalist Shane Horgan, The Mission truly feels like a melting together of two completely different worlds: dreamy spacerock, and a darker take on gothic garage rock. The latter is mostly due to Horgan’s vocals, which sound raspy and broken, like a bat out of hell howling at the moon. To be honest, it took me some time to truly appreciate them, but it’s the inherent darkness they add to the mix that does make Wolfen sound completely unlike anything else.

The raw vocals and the space-y music together make for a sound faintly reminiscent of early 90s British bands like Stone Roses or Spacemen 3. Wolfen sound more otherworldly though, like some relic out of the druggy shoegaze scene shot into space. All alone in his tiny little space capsule Wolfen wails and rages against the merciless void, slowly and inevitably moving further away from planet Earth into the growing vastness of the galaxy.

Whether you want to embark on this trip is up to you, the listener. Just beware of the type of dreamy music Wolfen makes. It might be a darker dream than you are capable of handling. Once fully prepared though, The Mission takes you to parts of the galaxy no other band has taken you before.

La Era De Acuario- S/T (2021 Necio Records)

Exotic times at the Weirdo headquarters where I got a pleasant surprise from Peru last week, when Necio Records contacted me to write about this new band from Mexico: La Era De Acuario and their latest self-titled LP. I had one listen and got pulled in immediately; this is exactly the kind of acid-laced femme friendly 60s-tinged space rock I was looking for.

Stylistically they pay hommage to bands like Jefferson Airplane (they did a stellar cover version, check out the video below) and Shocking Blue, but they add some stoner heaviness, a bunch of floaty-thingy Indian vibes, and very addictive Spanish vocals. A song like Agujero Negro brings some Spanish influences as well with catchy castanets, while all though the album Doors-y organs vibe a perfect hippie atmosphere. It adds enough acid to distance itself from the mainstream, while staying catchy enough to have yourself some springtime psychedelic tea and hum along.

The album is actually not entirely new. It consists of a previous released EP called Lunar from 2019, with four added tracks. The total spinning time is a little over thirty minutes, which is short and sweet, and begging for much record flipping. It’s limited to 300 pieces, which I predict are all going to be sold out by the time this article is published. Make sure you start harassing Necio Records for a second pressing though, because it’ll be worth your while.

Årabrot- Norwegian Gothic (2021 Pelagic Records)

As an eclectic music listener I love Årabrot, as they cater to quite a lot of my musical tastes. They have always been a bit of an odd duck in the pond, coming from Melvins-style weirdo doom and going into all kinds of different directions from goth to noise rock to straight up movie music. The wide range of different guests on the album tells us a lot in this respect: from Turbonegro to Motorpsycho, and from Jo Quail to Jagga Jazzist and Zu. Says the band: “Musically it [Norwegian Gothic] is inspired by all the albums of our record collection and thematically by the books we have in our shelves“.

First of all; there is the vocal department. Main male vocalist Kjettil Nernes sounds a bit like a pained Tom Verlaine (Television) these days, which immediately pushes the sound in a darkened post punk direction. Partner in crime Karin Park chimes in quite a few times too, which adds to the overall weird operatic/cinematic feel. There’s definitely an affection with the era Siouxie Sioux and Bauhaus, but there is a lot more than goth to Norwegian Gothic….

Norwegian Gothic feels a bit like a musical, a dark and twisted cabaret without synchronized dances and plastic merriment, but it has a similar narrative and dramatic quality. A song like Hallucinational is a perfect example, you can easily see Park sitting on stage singing her heart out with dramatic imagery while the rest of the band is gearing up for a next sonic assault like (This Is) The Night or Hard Love. The spoken parts (interviews? Documentaries? Movies?) add to the cinematic feel as well. The heavy parts range from dark postpunk reminiscent of Beastmilk to the galloping folk rhythms of a band like Wovenhand.

If there was a an overall theme oozing out of the album it would probably be the creeping of time and lurking decay. The grande finale You’re Not That Special speaks in images; we were made out of dust and will turn back into it. Before that time comes though, it’s important to get everything out of life, to love, and to create something. To dance into the night, and to sleep when you’re dead. Norwegian Gothic is that statement of two mortals trying to squeeze everything out of life, while being painfully aware of its shortcomings.

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