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Norwegian Gothic


Artist: Årabrot
Label: Pelagic Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 April 2021

Pelagic Records releases Norwegian Gothic, by Black Metal/Punk (dubbed Noise Rock) band Arabrot. Couple of the world, Kjetil ‘Tall Man’ Nernes and Karin ‘Dark Diva’ Park live in an old church in the Swedish countryside. They have collaborated on several projects and composed music for the silent movies Die Niebelungen and Doctor Caligari. This is their ninth full album, which is said to be not only the culmination of their music journey through the last ten years (they have been around for 20 years), but an indication of what is to come. It’s influenced by their church location, their record and book collections, homeland scenery and a hint of philosophy. Production on the album is by Jaime Gomez (Black Eyed Peas, Paradise Lost, Hexvessel, and Oranssi Pazusu). Guest musicians include Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist), cellist Jo Quail, Thomas Jarmyr (Motorpsycho) Anders Moller (Turbonegro, Ulver) and Massimo Pupillo (Zu)...

The track listing is: 'Carnival of Love'; 'The Rule of Silence'; 'Feel it On'; 'The Lie'; 'The Crows'; 'Kinks of the Heart'; 'Hailstones for Rain'; 'The Voice'; 'Hallucinational'; 'This is the Night'; 'Hard Love'; 'Impact Heavily onto the Concrete'; 'Hounds of Heaven'; 'Deadlock'; 'The Moon is Dead'; and 'You’re Not That Special'.

The overall feel is very mystical at first, but as the opening track unfolds we are introduced to elements of Industrial and Electronica. In fact, the change in vocal style between the verse and chorus actually dictates a change in genre. There is a definite groove which pulls you in. The following tracks are quite different in some respects. A drum beat and simple but compelling melody brings forth vocals inspired by The Velvet Underground and Johnny Cash, but the more you listen to the style the greater number of diverse singers you connect this common and brooding mood to. There are elements of The Smiths, Iggy Pop, early David Bowie, Gary Numan, and even the Gothic Metal sound of Tiamat.

Whilst not straying too much from the brooding undercurrents, an injection of other moods is hinted at, with a Funky bassline and Grungy guitar in 'Feel it On' (definite single material); minor Celtic sounds in 'The Crows'; and off-beat drumming, bass and Electronica in 'Hailstones for Rain'. Other tracks keep it simple but effective, such as in 'Kinks of the Heart'. For me, the best three songs come together. With 'Hallucinational', Karin Park brings real emotion and atmosphere into the collection from this point. It has the feeling of an ambience piece, such as those which introduce a latter Pink Floyd album, or link the tracks together. 'This is the Night' is like a late 1970s Post Punk song. Again, simple but very effective. In the chorus parts Karin’s voice is slightly in the background, but all the better for its presence. 'Hard Love' is the outstanding track for me. A great sound is created when the male and female singers perform separately, and then chillingly mesmeric when they sing together. I have to wonder why this winning tactic isn’t employed more often.

This release ranges from the brilliant to the mediocre. I would say it’s overly long, and at least four throw-away tracks could have been cut to tighten-up the package. However, it is unusual and diverse, and overall a strong album.


Ty Power

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