Norway - Full Moon 240 - 03/23/16
Årabrot just released the seventh (?) album, The Gospel and they have hit to road for a tour of Europe. The Gospel shows the true power of the beauty and the beast (inside)
Nernes. The gospel according to the man in black.
Årabrot is led by Kjetil Nernes, and he and his band (including his spouse Karin Park) give us their new album, The Gospel, which was launched in late February. Dressed in
a cool preacher man's hat, Nernes sings out his gospel. To life and to death and everything between it. Since their last album, Nernes has beat cancer (throat), but it does not seem his singing
skills and powers had been reduced by this. On the contrary. He sings with authority and conviction. This is the real stuff. From the sound clip (from a film, is it a Kubrick?) of the opening
seconds Årabrot is 'waging war'. Title track "The Gospel" goes right at your throat, pounding at you, before the song ends with an old marching band sound clip. "I Run" raise the intensity,
tinted with neat piano. The marching drum opening of "Tall Man" (with discreet horns and all) underlines the 'war path' of Årabrot. That said, they're not threatening and fiendish, not
at all. They just play tough, naturally, and they get away with it. As the songs unveil, the album, the tracks clicks in to find their right place. Perfectly, and probably is this Årabrot's
best album to date. They are still metalish, or hard rocking, but here are numerous layers of sound/levels. From the sacral ("Faustus") to the full frontal brute force ("Faustus", again, as well
as, say, "Ah Feel") of the beast - deep and dark and glowing. The single "Song Of Calumny" is not included here, but the songs of The Gospel is a
fine bouquet all together. Check the wild and wonderful "The Whore Is This City", or the aforementioned "Tall Man", which is my favourite track of the album. '...and
in the silence is the shadow of a tall man'. The piano, the horns, the rumbling, thundering drums and bass lines, and the significant, detailed guitar work - topped with Nernes'
grave, convincing voice. At times this is monstrous rock, while at other times the music is more tamed and controlled. I don't know if it's Steve Albini who's tamed the beast of Årabrot
or if Nernes himself has total control of the outcome. The Gospel describes, portrays, and sets forth with accuracy. I see a darkness, as well as I see the sun rise. From "The Darkest
Day" to "I Am The Sun". The Gospel is hard to describe in words. You simply have to hear - and feel - the album all around you. Let it surround you. Dive into the world of
Årabrot, with all the rage, anger, energy and hope.
The Gospel recalls some sort of nightmare wonderland. It makes me think of both Swans as well as Wire. Art-rock and rock art. Plus doses of hard rock, of course. Guests and contributors
on the record counts Ted Parsons (Killing Joke, Swans, Prong), Andrew Liles (Current93, Nurse With Wound), Stephen O'Malley (Sunn0)))), Erlend Hjelvik (Kvelertak) and Kristoffer
Lo (Highasakite). The closing drama of "Rebekka (Tragoedie)" sets the final punctuation to an impressive album. The Gospel is a massive recording.
PS! While you're at it you'd better check the "Tall Man" video, directed by Morten Traavik.
Copyright © 2016 Håvard Oppøyen