De Forbandede

Den Evige Nat

Written by: AP on 28/12/2017 23:45:46

When the acid/psychedelic rock group Spids Nøgenhat returned from an eight-year hiatus in 2009, little did Uffe Lorenzen & co. know that they would usher in a resurgence in heavy rock sung entirely in Danish. Many an excellent outfit has since jumped on the bandwagon, with the likes of Bersærk, De Underjordiske, Fribytterdrømme and Grusom earning massive praise from both mainstream and underground media in the past several years, and while each of those artists has carved out its own niche, it is nonetheless tempting to speak of a movement — one which looks within rather than abroad when it comes to finding inspiration. De Forbandede emerged onto the scene in 2015 and have since gained a reputation as an especially prolific act, issuing no less than three EPs and two full-length records to date. Indeed, the subject of this review, “Den evige nat”, is the band’s second studio album this year, following hot on the heels of their eponymous début outing which came out some 10 months ago. At first glance, it might seem absurd that De Forbandede are capable of producing so much material in such a short period of time, but there is an explanation: the band envisions itself primarily as a studio project and as such, they are not a regular sight in the domestic gig circuit. Furthermore, the quartet is not, and has never been chained to a record label, giving them plenty of time and freedom to cook up new tunes of a standard that warrants a proper release.

“Den evige nat” (which translates to the eternal night) picks up from where its predecessor left off, employing the same laissez faire attitude toward genre that made that outing so challenging to pigeonhole. Across the album — and often within the space of a single song — the band ropes in elements of stoner and psychedelic rock, punk, synthwave, and even pop to generate an eclectic and bombastic sound for which it is almost impossible to find close relatives. Marching out of the gates to the tune of hard struck, stunted powerchords and dramatic organ, “Kun jeg er til” gets the album off to blazing start in which Monster Magnet, Queens of the Stone Age and Spids Nøgenhat are all respectfully nodded at in riff and solo, while guitarist/vocalist Peter Østergaard coughs up one of those Sort Sol-esque choruses that even non-native speakers should be able to memorise purely by virtue of its inflection, melody and interspersing chants of aah-aah-aah-aah. The track provides an early highlight to a record that has an easy time burrowing itself into the cortices of your memory and soon after, “Byens ødemark” makes a convincing case for the best rock song to emerge from Denmark this year, its flamboyant riff and lush swathes of keyboard administering a welcome antidote to the minimalism that is rife in this part of the world.

Both of the aforementioned cuts subscribe to a pretty similar formula, straddling a fine line between the pompous and clichéd on the one side, and the youthful and energetic on the other — both in terms of Østergaard’s lyricism and the musicianship of his colleagues (bassist Nicolai Aagaard Rasmussen, keyboardist/organist Michael Hansen-Buur & drummer Ricky Christensen). But far from a one-trick pony, elsewhere the band slows the pace and turns brooding in the likes of “Sirenernes hævn”, busts out a synth-laden radio-hit of which their countrymen in Nephew would be proud (“Forsvinder du”) and indulges in prismatic jams to shine a spotlight on the symbiosis that exists between the four musicians. “Gnist bliver til flammer”, offers a perfect example of the latter kind of song, ending the record in a flurry of strange guitar and keyboard effects as Østergaard’s evocative balladry gives way around the halfway mark. Say what you will about the man’s reverberating style of singing (an acquired taste, to be sure) — in moments like this, when he bassoons his emotions as though from a cliff overlooking a vast prairie, even the sternest of skeptics will experience chills running down the spine.

“Den evige nat” is not without flaws, but with De Forbandede’s being so extravagant in terms of deploying all kinds of whistles and bells to enrich its soundscape, it is easy to overlook some of the shortcomings, like a number of not-so-striking tracks. The album is diverse and dynamic, borne to success by the strength of its standout moments, offering the precious elements of personality and lasting value in a single package. And to top off the accolades, that package comes wrapped in a very satisfying production in which the wealth of detail is always discernible, but which nonetheless feels human — like an unfiltered window into the rehearsal space where De Forbandede spend so much of their time.


Download: Kun jeg er til, Sirenernes hævn, Forsvinder du, Gnist bliver til flammer
For the fans of: Fribytterdrømme, Måneskjold, Silhouette, Spids Nøgenhat
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.12.2017

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