Distinctive, maniacal, and slightly disturbed in places that one never knew existed, the self tiled album from Norwegian band Djerv has filled the hole left by the demise of Animal Alpha in 2009. The dark vaudevillian touch that fuelled the fellow Norwegian band’s sound was left in the more than capable hands of the likes of Stolen Babies, The Shanklin Freak Show and Creature Feature , but still there was an empty corner of dark discontent from their absence. Djerv have filled that gap and how, though as the band is led by the same vocal powerhouse Agnete Kjølsrud it should be of no surprise, her visual and skilful vocal eccentricities and creations coming full force with a harder and more aggressive intent and sound from within her new home.
Kjølsrud has teamed up with drummer Erlend Gjerde (ex- Stonegard) and guitarist Stian Kårstad (ex- Trelldom), to bring a sound that employs the influences of the other two’s heavy metal and black metal past and abilities into the inspired variations and melodic probing hooks that made Kjølsrud’s previous band stand out so strongly. Djerv are direct and powerful, and with the unforgettable and always irresistible voice of Kjølsrud, is an extremely impressive original and diverse rock band.
The album consists of nine compelling and varied pulsating tracks, from the simple but strong punk metal attack of the opener ‘Madman’ to the intense and shadowy tones of closer ‘Immortal’ the album ripples and bulges with big riffs, pounding rhythms, sonically teasing melodies and addict making hooks. The album and band revel in finding new and inspired ways to satisfy and treat the senses and no track within the album does less than is musically possible.
There are so many moments that one wants to shout about but a few to point out are the prowling and growling beckoning riffs of ‘Headstone’ and the dark recesses of the mesmeric ‘Gruesome Twosome’, a song that like a sinister puppeteer has one dancing on its musical strings. Adding the wicked groove stomp of ‘Only I Exist’ and ‘Abmuse’ with its consuming black gothic heart the album is already an essential listen.
Though it can almost already be labelled as so it is the track ‘The Bowling Pin’ that tips the album over into a classic category, it’s incessant rapping on the senses with a superior air backed up by scorching riffs, throbbing rhythms and the never failing imperious vocals of Kjølsrud makes the song is a masterclass and masterpiece in making intense and addictive music instinctively and eagerly. To be fair though that applies to the whole album.
Djerv the band and the album is a glorious pleasure and deeply satisfying release. Intensely powerful and stunningly melodic, darkly tainted and caressingly loving, and strongly direct whilst insanely addictive the album has it all to make the world disappear as you fall into its hypnotic charms. This is an album that will satisfy and inspire in equal measure and appeal to audiences of any genre and as for Animal Alpha fans they will rejoice in another band with eccentric originality and forthright musical intent screaming out with unique smooth and stirring grace.