There has been a buzz about Norwegian band Honningbarna which has been hard to avoid going in to this review with their PR Company alone fervidly enthusiastic far beyond their paid agenda in the presentation of the band’s new album for coverage. Could they really be as impressive and exciting as admittedly a great many are claiming? Yes they are and then some. Their new album Verden En Enkel is a scintillating excuse for passions to riot and limbs to brawl, its unique and insatiable punk rock fire rich in potency and impossibly virulent contagiousness. With dramatic flames of melodic fervour and hooks as barbed and addictive as any sexual favour, the thirteen track release thrusts the band into the heady heights of being the future of melodic punk and possibly the core elements of punk itself.
As fresh faced teens the quintet from Kristiansand took no time in grabbing intense attention with their debut self-titled EP of 2010 which was followed within three months by the band winning the Norwegian broadcasting’s annual unsigned band competition, Årets Urørt. The following year their first album La Alarmane Gå (Sound The Alarm) won Best Rock Album at Spellemannsprisen, the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammys as well as Honningbarna gaining a Best Newcomer nomination. Their rise has been strong and energetic to match their renowned live performances which have also marked the band as one of the most explosive and unmissable treats. The likes of Rage Against the Machine, Gallows, and The Hives have been slapped upon the band as comparisons and it is easy to see why but really they stand alone from the rest with only for us Russian punks Biting Elbows bred from the same distinctive imaginative well though you could probably also add The Fat Dukes Of Fuck too.
Produced by Swedish producer Pelle Gunnerfeldt, the Republic Of Music released Verden Er Enkel meaning The World Is Simple, is the first album to have a wider release infiltrating further afield within Europe and the UK, something which can only trigger a mass euphoria one suspects if our reactions are any gauge. It is a record which fuses every aspect of punk old and new with melodic garage rock ferocity and breath-taking energy. It is also as is the band, loaded with political confrontation at times though with them welcomingly only using their native tongue its content is lost on limited linguists like us but the snarl and bite in the delivery and sound does offers plenty to be provoked and inspired by. Honningbarna is poised to ignite rock music to a level which will take the name around the world, well certainly if quality and invention is any benchmark.
The album opens on the sensational lure of Dodtid, the twisted guitar beckoning a sonic lasso around the ear gripping with the intensity of a hornet. Exploding into a barrage of rapacious grooves all sonically sculpted within enticing rhythms, the track then steps into a slow breath of vocals and drum framing before unleashing the turmoil of sound once again. The vocals of Edvard Valberg squall and challenge whilst being ably accompanied by the group gang locked harmonies to post an anthemic hook within the brooding maelstrom at play upon the senses. Harshly metallic with a hardcore abrasive edge the song is a deliberate entrapment for which there is no escape or hiding from, especially its final lingering sonic lancing of flesh as it evolves into the fire of the following Ikke La Deg Rive Med. It is a bruising encounter with muscular energy and scything guitar sinews from Christoffer Trædal and Fredrik Justnes working their caustic charms whilst the beats of drummer Nils Jørgen Nilsen cage and enslave with skill and mischievous purpose. With elements of The Bronx and Red Tape to its stance and drive the track continues the impressive start with inspired ease.
Through the likes of the mighty Velkommen Tilbake where bassist Lars Emmelthun gnaws and chews the ear with stirring potency whilst the song itself just stomps all over the emotions with old school devilry, the thrilling Tynn Is with its arguably unadventurous, compared to other moments on the release, yet enticing gait, and the exceptional God Jul, Jesus, the album fosters the rapidly brewing ardour for the album with irresistible craft and imagination. The second of these sees the added treat of Valberg and his shadow inspired skills with the cello, bringing another stunning bow to band and release whilst the third of the trio is a rampant swagger of growling rapacious rhythms from bass and drums within a corrosive energy and magnetic blaze of vocal harmonies and feisty passion engulfing hunger.
The album holds its truly momentous moments in nothing but highlights for the latter part of its presence starting with Fuck Kunst (Dans Dans), the lead single form the album. A slice of dirty incendiary rock n roll with riffs and thought poking vocal delivery to incite the strongest reactions and an imagination and devilry to spark their fullest greed, the track is the perfect lead into band and album though easily matched by next up Offerdans and the best song on the album Ned. Whilst the first of these two dances with the ear like a punk dervish, perpetually moving riffs and barbed hooks sharing target practice on the passions with unerring accuracy its successor is quite simply a complete tempest of addict making melodic spiky grooves and equally catchy riffs ridden by coarse confrontational but anthemic vocals. At its core and partially hidden there is a groove the Buzzcocks would have been proud of whilst the overall plundering of the ear is vintage punk rock given a modern makeover for a new breed of riot.
Before its end Verden Er Enkel confirms its majesty through the bass carved rock scrap of Si Nei, the brutally addictive title track, and the brilliant closing psyche altercation of Gi Oss Kick. It is a stunning and delicious spat from a band who more than justify the claims wrapped around them from the outside. Honningbarna is poised to ignite the appetite and passions of not only punk but rock n roll in general and across the world. It all starts here.
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