We Came As Romans
O2 Academy Islington, London, UK - 2/3
Written by: AP on 06/03/2013 15:35:21
It was only a matter of time before the immense success of Kvelertak would begin breeding a host of similar bands, and as such, Blodig Alvor (which translates roughly to Deadly Serious) are surely but one of many to come. But make not mistake: the band, hailing from the Norwegian West coast town of Ålesund, is no sterile clone without ambitions or opinions of its own; and really, the only overt similarities between the two are the love of rock'n'roll and punk in their purest forms, and the decision to deliver all lyrics in their native language.
Indeed, where Kvelertak distill considerable influence from domestic black metal, Blodig Alvor's debut album "Mørkets Frembrudd" orients itself by hardcore and punk in a way not too dissimilar to what The Bronx sounds like on their recent fourth album. As such, you should expect a rock'n'roll approach to the genre, with plenty of subtle yet infectious groove, sly guitar leads that twist out of the ends of riffs and texture the parts without singing, and a high-octane drive that rarely loosens its grip on the tempo. The opening trio - save for the intro track - of "Mr. Molotow", "Start en Revolusjon" (Start a Revolution) and the eponymous "Blodig Alvor" (which borrows the early gang chant of the band's name from Kvelertak's "Ulvetid", of course) is an apt condensation of these traits, banging out one memorable tune after the other without even necessitating the listener to know any Norwegian. Some might be fazed by vocalist Markus den Ouden's old school punk take on singing (or, well... yelling) of course, but I feel that against the backdrop of similarly influenced instrumentation it is difficult to imagine anything else providing the same impact.
But while the yelled refrain of "Så start en revolusjon, start en revolusjon!" is good memory fodder regardless of your spoken language, it also reflects a pitfall typical to debut albums in general: a slight lack of confidence, and the consequent unwillingness to go all out in terms of songwriting. Of course, the fact that Blodig Alvor's politically charged lyrics are a little too brash and ineloquent for my liking is a revelation reserved to someone who actually understands what is being sung, but the fact also remains that between the eight songs on offer here, there are more similarities and distinctive differences. The inevitable result is that, with the exception of the final piece "Vår Resignasjon" (Our Resignation), you could pick any one song and not find much there to distinguish it from the rest.
On the other hand, the unwavering energy that drills through the album from front to back is difficult to resist, whichever the song in question. It is somewhat paradoxal then that "Mørkets Frembrudd" is as generic as it is unforgettable. It is the sort of album that will linger regardless of the fact that its scope is rather limited - but that probably owes above all to the immortal divisive notion of less is more when it comes to Blodig Alvor's song structures and stylistic depth. As such, "Mørkets Frembrudd" is no "Kvelertak" in terms of texture, daring and madness, but like the aforementioned "The Bronx (IV)", it is the sort of album you can slip in at any time to get a fix of rocking, rolling, instantly enjoyable songs.
Download: Start en Revolusjon, Blodig Alvor, Ordets Makt, Vår Resignasjon
For the fans of: The Bronx, Honningbarna, Kvelertak, Oslo Ess
Release date 05.03.2013