Released: 2012, Fysisk Format
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Apparently Årabrot is named after the garbage disposal in the Norwegian city of Haugesund where these noise-rockers emerged from over 11 years ago. Seems that the local authorities also felt it was an appropriate place to site a school for troubled youths. So does this mean that new EP Mæsscr is going to be a load of rubbish, or perhaps just misunderstood?
Well I guess as the make-up of your average trash heap changes every day, so does Årabrot’s musical output. It revolves around the core set-up of guitarist and vocalist Kjetil Nernes and drummer Vidar Evensen but what might be unearthed is always an unknown quality.
Mæsscr is a relatively stripped back affair, which nicely suits the falling temperatures outside, as the music almost seems to reach out with a cold touch. It’s a whispery opening for ‘The Baron’, which moves into a quite simple solemn melody overlayed with a spoken word that for me falls somewhere between Tim Curry in Rocky Horror and Ozzy Osbourne.
The second of these two new songs, ‘Solaranus Excerpt’ almost sounds like a skipping vinyl, before again the musical side takes a step back but still frames the scene with its persistently rising and falling tone. This time the vocals take on a creepier, breathier sound, so that if you weren’t feeling the chill before your spine will be starting to crackle.
Årabrot have chosen to make up the rest of the EP with a number of covers, Lee Hazlewood's ‘Poor Man’ and Death In June's ‘Kukuku’ and ‘The Honour Of Silence’. Sounding much more sinister in the hands of Årabrot , ‘Poor Man’ threatens, whilst ‘Kukuku’ whispers and commands alongside a piano sound torn from a time long ago. ‘The Honour Of Silence’ comes in two parts, the first of which is probably the most ‘conventional’ in terms of structure and instruments, with the leaden brass notes adding a sense of weight that is offset by the plinking piano, whilst the second is a murkier, bassier buzz.
Mæsscr is an involving and interesting listen when giving it my full attention, but I find it difficult to imagine the scenario that would bring me back to it. It’s not music you can have a quick fumble with, this is full-on, long and slow, whether you like it or not. It’s definitely kooky, and creepy, but if you want to take a walk through an eerie musical landscape, that views sound the way an artist does paint, Mæsscr is your guide.