Black metal is much like a living organism, staying true to its roots while constantly evolving and developing, and many modern day black metal outfits have little in common with the forefathers of this genre. However, these days it is rare to discover a band who continue to push the boundaries, smashing any preconceptions or expectations of what a black metal band might sound like, but this is exactly what Norse do.
While one might reasonably expect them to have their roots in Scandinavia, these black metal misanthropists were actually spawned in the darkest recesses of Australia in 2006 and have thus far unleashed two EPs and two full lengths upon us.
This, their new full length ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’, represents a new level of deviance with a bleak, nihilistic, industrial tinged almost futuristic sound that is uncompromising and crushing in equal measure.
Opening track ‘Supreme Vertical Ascent’ is a statement of intent with blastbeats supporting mid pace haunting melody and inhuman almost spoken word vocals, leading seamlessly into ‘Drowned by Hope’ which continues in the same hypnotic vein. Repetitive simple melodies get into your head and as though lured by a deranged siren, it is easy to find yourself getting lost in this track, breathing a sigh of relief at the brief interlude before ‘Telum Vitae’ continues the cerebral assault.
This is by no means an easy listen, and should not be taken lightly – This demands your full attention and your commitment to allow this to seep into every pore, and to infiltrate your being. The title track soon gives way to ‘Exitus’ with memorable rhythms and key changes, without losing any of the albums dreary, dark atmosphere. ‘Synapses Spun as Silk’ remains equally desolate, and rather than having silk like synapses at the end of this, I think this will more likely corrupt all synapses rendering neurotransmission impossible!
‘Sandarkan’ continues the austere aural assault, before ‘Arriving in peace, Pregnant with War’ sees an increase in aggression, before the album is brought to an abrupt close with ‘Cyclic’.
This is an oppressive piece of futuristic bleak black metal (is bleak metal a genre??) which pushes boundaries and provides a perfect soundtrack for the ever increasingly uncertain future we all face as we spiral towards worldwide Armageddon.
(8/10 Andy Pountney)