The word ‘dissonance’ is defined in the dictionary as ‘lack of harmony among musical notes’. So it’s amazing when a band uses this dissonance to great effect, thus creating some unusual music. This is seen more in the black metal bands that decide to take the progressive route, but often they end up sounding extremely weird and even alienating some of the listeners. Norse, a two piece from Australia, walks the fine line between traditional black metal sounds and dissonant song writing. They do this without leaning too much on either side. Their 2014 EP ‘Pest’ is a fine example in adopting unusual song writing skills while managing to creating an enjoyable end product. Transcending Obscurity recently re-released this EP and it is a good thing that they did.
It’s not immediately apparent what sub genre this band can be classified under. The song writing here is not something that you hear on a regular basis. One of the band that springs to mind is Gorguts. But Norse lies closer towards the black metal side, especially the atmosphere that they manage to conjure up and the venomous snarls that they use for vocals.
Everything on here can be described as dissonance and the chord progressions that they use are something that sound weird but flow well together. That’s what I like about this album. Though the band is doing something new and embracing the atonal side of music, the music is not all that hard to get into. Some of the riffs and progressions even seem to have a very catchy effect to them.
The abrasiveness and violence of black metal is downplayed here and I’m not complaining. It helps the song writing to shine through and it is one of the highlights of the album. The production is sufficiently rough, but I do wish that the drums sounded a bit more stronger, especially with the blast beats.
Everything about this album, including the album cover has a very eerie feeling to it. One cant help but feel the coldness thanks to the atmosphere that shrouds the album. The vocals only add to this feeling. Norse sound absolutely misanthropic, but the way they do it is what makes them special. They don’t sucker punch the listener with relentless blast beats and maniacal tremolo runs. They do it in a methodical way with the atonal riffs as their primary weapon.
I would definitely love to check out more from these, but for now I have to stay content with ‘Pest’. Norse are a band that deserves to be heard just for the way they make you comfortable.