It’s not often we get something from the northern skirts of Scandinavia, but the Norwegian quintet Ondt Blod (Evil Blood) has something unique and bold. We took their new album “Natur” (Nature) for a spin:
> Release: March 9. Label: Loyal Blood Records
From the press release:
“Natur” is a Sami scream from the far north. Made 100 years after the first indigenous political organising in Norway, This is a Sami call to arms against the still on-going colonization and oppression. “Natur” celebrates the duality of human nature, where champagne meets cyanide, machine-gun riffs meet the catchiest choruses out of Scandinavia since ABBA.
“Natur” is Norwegian hardcore-unit Ondt Blod’s second album and offers an indigenous blend of hardcore, grim metal and catchy punk; the polar bear mates with Pet Sounds.
The album is recorded in Oslo, and is produced by star producer Yngve Andersen (Blood Command, Hold Fast). Technical wizardry is provided by Ruben Willem (Haust) and Simon Jackman, who also have mixed the record. Guest performances are given by Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvold (yacht-saxophone) and the Sami pop star Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen of the electropop group ISÁK, who does a traditional joik (ancient Sami singing tradition) duet with Ondt Blod singer Aslak on the record’s last track “Giron”. The album’s artwork is a woodprint by Peter-John De Villiers, who also did the artwork for the singles.
Despite of having only released one album, Ondt Blod have a lot to show for. Not only have Ondt Blod been deemed the “pride of the North” in Norwegian media; their debut-album “Finnmark” was nominated as the “new-comer of the year” for the Norwegian equivalent to the Grammys in 2016, and they have been listed on Norwegian national radio with five songs. The band has toured Norway alongside Kvelertak, and played the Roskilde Festival in 2016.
With “Natur”, Ondt Blod has made an album that is at once a razor sharp political confrontation and a hedonistic celebration.
Alrighty then! Let’s see what we’ve got here. “Natur” is basically a Norwegian Dropkick Murphys, singing in Norwegian, which is an extremely bold move if you wanna make it outside your home country. The album should, however, appeal to people who don’t speak Norwegian. Being Danish myself, I have no problems understanding what they’re saying (helped along by English transcripts of the lyrics), but English-only listeners way struggle. The title track starts with a Sami (suppressed minority in northern Norway/Sweden/Finland) folk-hymn, but is quickly faded into a fierce double kickdrum and howling guitars, into something that resembles The Exploited’s “Beat The Bastards”, while the chorus takes us into the more hardcore parts of Good Charlotte.
The second, seventh and eight cuts “Andre Liv” (Other Lives), “Store Ord” (Big Words) and “Storma” (Storms) are more mainstream pop-ish punk-rock, in the realms of All American Rejects and similar bands, and stands out from the rest of the album. Not necessarily in a negative way, but these three tracks do sound, at least in my opinion, too distinctive from the rest. They aren’t bad at all, they are just very different.
My personal favourites are track 1, 3 and 5 (“Natur” (Nature), “Start Han Opp” (Start It Up) and “Med Ulver” (With Wolves), but particularly for “Start Han Opp” I think it’s a shame that the raw and powerful verses are somewhat superseded by the chorus’ contemporary pop-ish style.
The album gets 3,5/5 stars for its awesome and raw sound, but not more than that because of the stylistic confusions scattered across the songs.
Meet the band at https://www.facebook.com/ondtblodband/
Check out “Storma” here: