Good day, readers. Here to start off the week properly I’ve got a pair of albums that live somewhere in the vicinity of post-hardcore, both by Swiss bands (well, one of them is more of a Swiss-Swedish hybrid), and both of which are coming out very soon. Get ready!
Norna – Star Is Way Way Is Eye (Vinter Records, 18 February 2022)
Abraham – Débris de Mondes Perdus (Pelagic Records, 25 February 2022)
Norna is a newly-formed collaborative trio of vets, 1/3 from Swedish bands Breach and The Old Wind, and 2/3 from Switzerland’s Ølten. And this is the group’s debut offering.
All six songs and all 40+ minutes are fairly dark in tone, and fairly high in intensity. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement: the album starts out at a 10 and occasionally creeps upwards from there. Raging post-hardcore with bloodthirsty shouted vocals, for the most part, but with layers of distortion and static and many other aesthetic elements of noise-rock, and — while not quite sharing the same vibe, perhaps let’s say the same sensibility or philosophy, as shoegaze, with huge drum sounds and reverbed vocals and multitudes of guitar parts that seem like they are ringing from a wall full of amps stacked from floor to ceiling.
Indeed, this is an album that needs to, demands to, and deserves to be played at maximum volume.
Next, an album — the fourth LP in the decade-and-a-half-long-give-or-take career of Swiss band Abraham, which translates from French as “Debris of Lost Worlds.” (For what it’s worth, I also tried that Norna album title but Google Translate seemed as confused as I was on that one.)
Here too, the record starts out especially intensely, with harsh yelling, and also a plethora of instrumental tracks sometimes sounding like they are echoing within an enormous concert hall, or other times from the far end of a long and narrow catacomb. The approach here is somewhat less of a monolithic wall of sound though, as each individual part has been given a bit more breathing room in quite a few spots, and they have taken full advantage of it — as the bass and drums in particular tend to find themselves falling into an intriguing kind of groove much of the time.
Approaching the midpoint of the album the tempos seem to falter a bit, a few more disharmonic notes appear in the mix; from that point on, overall the band seem to continually push their way deeper and deeper into the depths of disconsolateness and despair.
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