ALBUM REVIEW: Årabrot – Norwegian Gothic
For any creative who has been honing their craft for a long period of time, it can sometimes be difficult to find growth and new avenues to express their art.
So, when you have been a band for more than a decade, fans of your art may think they have seen everything you have to offer.
But for Norwegian noise-rockers Årabrot, their ninth instalment Norwegian Gothic is a culmination of everything they have worked towards and a sign that there is much more to come.
On the surface, 16-tracks of avant garde rock’n’roll might be a bit dense to take in, but the driving forces behind the Scandinavian band know how to make expansive music, which hits in that sweet spot and keeps your attention at every turn.
What is so charming about what Årabrot has created with their music, is that even though it is composed with heavy fuzzy guitars at its heart, and there is a clear feel of Nordic influence in their music, the album almost comes across like a collection of stories rather than songs.
The way they are constructed with peaks and valleys, and the way the lyrics are delivered by vocalist/guitarist Kjetil “Tall Man” Nernes, is like listening to a storyteller rather than a man with a microphone.
Årabrot are also not afraid to showcase a range of different influences, with tracks like Kinks of the Heart and (This Is) The Night having a real Billie Holiday vibe to them, but they can then switch it up with a song like Hard Love, which is more akin to stoner doom.
If their eclectic influences weren’t enough, the band worked closely with a range of collaborators including cellist Jo Quail, Tomas Järmyr (Motorpsycho) and Anders Møller (Turbonegro, Ulver), to bring an added flavour to what Norwegian Gothic has to offer.
What gives this record an extra layer of feeling is that the main duo behind its creation – Nernes and Karin “Dark Diva” Park – made it in the church where they live with their two children in the Swedish countryside. And that feel of creating something grand in this beautiful setting really comes out in the music. Whether it is through the sheer epicness of the sound or the more delicate elements, it gives Norwegian Gothic an intimate feel for such an expansive album.
What Årabrot have created with this record is a journey through a narrative, created from the minds of a couple of musical masters. It has twists and turns, it has ups and downs, but as a listener you are along for the ride, which is one hell of an experience.
Standout Tracks: Kinks of the Heart, Hallucinational, Deadlock
For Fans Of: Hey Colossus, The Body, Okkultokrati
Written By: Tim Birkbeck