A rabid cauldron of pestilential sonic animosity and blackened death metal voracity, Pest the new album from Australian metallers Norse, is a release to fear as much as one to lust over. The six track scourge is a glorious malevolent swamp of hungry corrosive atmospheres and fiercely ravenous textures, all with despicable violent intent. It is a release which for some will provide a landscape too harsh and intrusive but for others will be vindictive manna to spill acclaim and lust over.
Formed in 2006, Norse has had its fair share of turmoil and line-up instability but at its core band co-founder and drummer Robin “Frog” Stone (The Amenta) has been the drive pushing on the project. The Unrelenting EP came out in the band’s first year before debut album Hellstorm in 2010 caught attention and praise with its boundary pushing invention. That acclaim increased and spread with its successor All Is Mist and Fog two years later, the album triggering the band’s impressive live presence equally with the band sharing stages with the likes of Absu, Mnemic, Psycroptic, and Dark Funeral across 2012 alone. Revelling in the union of Stone with guitarist/vocalist Treelo Herrington, Norse has sculpted its greatest pinnacle yet with Pest; genres merged and disregarded by the blistering hostile beauty of the new onslaught.
From the first insidious whine of sonic temptation washing ears as opener Encoded Weakness goes to hostile work, the album has attention and swiftly after appetite ablaze with eagerness. It is a viciously compelling start, the toxicity of the guitars irresistible bait as carnivorous bass intimidation and rhythmic barbs align with raw ungracious vocals and a cruel rub of riffs. Already it is impossible to pin down the sound; its heady flavoursome ravaging entwining noise and psyche metal with a blackened voracity amidst a twisted groove infuse technical experimentation. The track persists in its predatory crawl and destructive breath, persistently shifting its intriguing scenery whilst searing and seduces with blistering invention and exhaustive animosity. The sonic lashing unleashed across the track reminds of Kabul Golf Club, but it is just one aspect to an unpredictable and transfixing primal fascination.
The demonic ruin bringing the first track to an end sets up senses and thoughts perfectly for its rhythmically rampant successor Disarmed, Toothless, Weak; drums striding with a purposeful menace and revelry as guitars forge another sonic web to tempt the emotions. Though distinctly different and arguably even more brutally ingenious, the track again winds acidic waspish grooves around barbarous beats and causticity bred vocals, to which grooves and hooks provide an irresistible scarring enticement. As the first, the song is a mouthwatering and addictive protagonist, exploring and stretching the limits and invention of the listener as much as itself.
Both the heavy intensive and overwhelmingly rancorous title track and the bestial charm of Irradiator, oppress and infest the senses with merciless potency and rabidity, but again with imagination firing twists of sonic exploration and contagious enmity. The first is a ruinous prowl which brings acute sufferance and mesmeric antipathetic radiance in a suffocating magnetic wash whilst its successor thrusts the senses into the strongest grievous confrontation yet. The pair also ensure sonically and rhythmically, hand in hand with varied vocal squalls and intrusiveness, that lethal soundscapes come with a rare and irresistible virulence; a murderous web of sonic seducing and scathing beauty which enslaves ears and passions.
The release is completed by the tyrannical maelstrom of True Insignifigance and the enthrallingly burdensome Aimless, each again a lethal threat and riveting enticement of creative venom, bruising and scorching the senses as they solicit and harshly caress them. The pair brings Pest to a black hearted conclusion, providing a final thrilling violation to a scintillating, psyche despoiling triumph. Norse is a force which only the brave should contemplate and the sonically adventurous must immerse within. Wounds and scars are guaranteed as is one of the best rewarding releases this year.
Pest is available digitally now.
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