Rough Edges from Down Under
Norse is, as you may have already guessed, an Australian band from New South Wales that produces very fine and very black metal. Their second album, All is Mist and Fog, brought Norse, around since 2006, to my attention. On June the 7th, Norse will release their new EP Pest via Bandcamp, to make sure our summer is enriched with the stench of sickness and putrefaction while the sun vanishes beneath a shroud.
Pest is almost 30 minutes of cumbersome Black Metal that is not easily accessible. It needs more than one passage through your ears to fully come into its own. The six songs are dominated by abrupt changes of tempo and very dissonant guitars – both creating vague associations with Mayhems often underestimated Ordo ad Chao. At first glance, everything sounds just unsorted and chaotic, it is almost impossible to make out the song’s structure at first. But if you take Pest for a second round, the individual pieces slowly become coherent and you are suddenly able to make out all the small details in the compositions.
The opener, “Encoded Weakness”, starts off as a speed orgy but loses pace towards the end. Like a mantra, singer and guitarist Treelo Herrington repeats the words “You will rot!”, the sounds overlay one another and blend together to create an eerie sound – goose bumps guaranteed! The vocals are very present in general, the Aussies play with effects and let drums and strings move into the background. But this is not a standard procedure that marks Pest’s distinctiveness: All songs make you feel queasy, but never because of the same reasons.
The guitars are more prominent in the title track “Pest”, while in the background it sounds like someone is snuffing a pig – it’s the audible equivalent to a splatter movie that gives you nightmares. Always to the point are the drums, played by Frog, the only remaining original member. His wild franticness is as convincing as the slower parts, and he also manages the rough jumps from pace to pace effortlessly. Pest is very well produced, though production does the hell to smooth all the rough edges. It is truly a chaotic beast that raises its ugly head with “Encoded Weakness” and finally lays it down again with “Aimless”. In between, there is half an hour of pitch black, ice cold abyss you need to cross.
Pest is hard to digest – I recommend at least one digestive schnapps after listening to this piece of utter blackness that those guys from Australia set loose amongst mankind. Norse seem to have dark plans for their special kind of extreme metal, and I am curious what awaits us on their next album!
Norse – Pest (EP)
Release: 07.06.2014 – in digital form only. Buy Pest via norsemetal.bandcamp.com
1. Encoded Weakness
2. Disarmed, Toothless, Weak
5. True Insignificance