My interest was aroused immediately when a melodic beat, accompanied by a strange and deep chorus, blended into an explosion of heaviness. The rumbling beat and progressive post metal thunder continue. From this opening it would seem that Norwegian band Timeworn do not worry about boundaries but do know about song developments, structures and moods. And the mood, at the end of “Measure of Gold” at least, is dark. The scene is set.

In fact the scene becomes harsher and more extreme. “All Chiefs” blasts its way almost anarchically and irregularly through dark places. A sinister instrumental piece takes us into the heavy and menacing world of “Black Peak Blues”. The chorus is disturbing and dissonant. This is not a world of clear pictures or straight lines. Intricate instrumental patterns are weaved with harsh and unhinged vocals. Thus far the style had been an extreme and experimental form of post-metal but now “The Infectious Gloom” took us into altogether more sludgy territory. The band’s own description of it all is “a sturdy mix of riffs, dissonance of melody coupled with lyrical themes ranging from Lovecraft to Buckaroo Banzai all stirred up in one big cauldron of heavy delights”. Here on the “Infectious Gloom” we’re taken back 20 years for our pleasure. It’s raucous and harsh. The melody cannot be denied, the riffs are strong and there’s the odd uplifting moment but this is tough stuff, as Timeworn skilfully bring together many heavy elements. Occasionally they will intrigue us with a colourful passage as they do on the imperious and ever transforming “Night of Owls”. The album drives forward as if the band is in a hurry but there’s plenty of diversion and sound switches. The effect, I reflected while listening to “Traitors to the Crown”, is that there’s something weird going on. No time is wasted. The title track is typically off the wall, twisting and turning enigmatically and vibrantly as the rumbling rhythm holds it together. From the listener’s point of view, the track “Venomous High” is a journey of intrigue and a fitting end.

Timeworn, whose second album release this is, are clearly accomplished musicians with a clear sense of purpose. “Venomous High” is hard to ignore. It is direct and often extreme but at the same time full of creativity and interest.

(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)