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Norska - Self-Titled Award winner

by Salvador Aguinaga II at 16 October 2012, 1:14 AM

I’m not too well enveloped in Doom and Sludge Metal. I’ve listened to a few Doom sounding bands and when I saw the term “Sludge” come up with this band, I had to do a little research on its distinct sound. After asking around and listening to other bands, it was fairly easy to grasp its concept and now I have an understanding between the differences and similarities of both Sludge and Doom metal.

This is NORSKA’s self-titled album and their first release. It was fairly easy to get in the groove and listen to NORSKA. Usually I’m used to listening to something instrumentally demanding and sometimes atmospheric compositions, respectively. NORSKA was the latter. Very atmospheric and compelling. They had the same ambiance as many Black Metal bands. Ironic is it that their band name is Swedish for Norwegian, infamous for harvesting the Black Metal scene. Even more so than that, they’re a band from the U.S. Three different countries within a single name and it’s symbolic of their sound and how diverse and broad it is. In this case being the sounds of Sludge, Doom, and a bit of Groove Metal. I’d safely classify them as a Progressive Sludge / Doom Metal band.

GOJIRA’s name kept popping in my head as I listened to NORSKA. Vocals are similar, yet I came up with the image that the vocals at times seemed to be like GOJIRA’s vocalist and Tom Araya from SLAYER having a mud wrestling match with Joe Duplantier clearly pinning Araya down for the count. The album also has cleans and after a while the image I had disappeared and it was only Duplantier’s essence in Jim Lowder’s vocals.

While there are similarities between both bands, NORSKA, however, is a lot more progressive and uses grooves more artistically and are fewer in amount. Their strong point is their atmosphere and seem to be masters at how articulate all the instruments are fitting in. I’d even say it sounded like an OPETH album. After all “Heritage” was a dislike or appreciate album with Mikael Akerfeldt knowing some of its fan base would not like it. While I did love the album, it lacked its usual energy and vibe OPETH are so great at devising. “Norska”, however sounded like a follow-up of OPETH’s tendency to experiment and if you were to substitute Lowder’s vocals with Akerfeldt’s vocals then you’d unknowingly have an OPETH album. Not to discredit NORSKA by making them seem inferior to OOPETH as I would say this album was superior to “Heritage” but keep in mind OPETH is one band, NORSKA is another.

My favorite tracks were “They Mostly Come at Night” and “Two Coins For The Ferryman” both of them being the longest songs on the album clocking in at roughly thirteen and ten minutes, respectively. On “They Mostly Come at Night”, there was a section where the drums enticed me to air drum, pounding away at it and wind milling my head around and around along with extreme display of hard edge drumming. This was one of the moments where they seized to be atmospheric and decided to show an extreme side to them. “Two Coins For The Ferryman” proved to me how much I’ve fallen in love with NORSKA. There was a moment where there was a slight pause with silence and I was literally saying “No, please don’t end yet” and to my glee it started up again but I fell for this trap twice and again I didn’t want it to end but when the song finally ended I had closure and said “Wow, what a perfect album!”

5 Star Rating

1. Amnesia
2. Nobody One Knows
3. They Mostly Come at Night
4. Cholera
5. Two Coins For The Ferryman
Aaron Rieseberg - Bass
Jason Oswald - Drums
Dustin Rieseberg - Guitars
Jim Lowder - Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: Brutal Panda Records


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Edited 28 May 2023

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