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Conjurer review Attan's mindblowing live show in Norway

Attan live
(Image credit: John Ivar Knudsen)

Conjurer guitarist Brady Deeprose is a huge fan of Norwegian blackened sludge/hardcore crew Attan, so much so that he took a flight from the UK to Oslo to see them play new album End Of in full. Here's what he thought of the experience...

Vaterland Bar & Scene is a relatively new spot, created by Attan bassist/co-vocalist Fritz-Ragnvald Rimala Pettersen, situated in Oslo’s Vaterland neighbourhood. In the last six months it’s swiftly developed into a hub for the city’s thriving, dark underground and is starting to attract exciting acts from around the globe. It’s clear from the off, however, which act is in the spotlight tonight – Attan’s custom pizza and Black Liquid Lager are the most popular items on the menu, a mean feat in a bar stacked with local ales and their signature ‘Satan’ pizza, and every other punter is wearing their merch. 

As you ascend to the second level, Vaterland opens up into an altogether more curious affair. It’s a combination of an artsy cocktail bar, a circuit venue, and a taxidermy collection – certainly an eclectic stage upon which tonights openers Dwaal begin to plumb the depths of what the local scene has to offer. A foray into the world of post-doom, this five-piece provides three solid tracks of weighty misery with competence, even if the slightest hint of nerves is noticeable. Comparisons to Hundred Year Old Man in both delivery and sound could be argued, albeit with slightly less bluster or grit. Vertikal-era Cult Of Luna or latter-day Ahab wouldn’t be too far off either, and without even a full record to their name, Dwaal may very well be a name to look out for in the future. 

In what feels like a vital moment for a band on the rise, Attan step up and deliver one of the most abrasive and single-mindedly brutish shows of the year. The Jacob Bannon-esque barreling of Remi Semshaug Langseth mirrors his vitriolic screeching and is eclipsed only, for brief moments, by Fritz’s pitched bellows. Black Liquid Marrow showcases both, and lyrically evokes visions of the daunting Norwegian wilderness surrounding the city – a theme clearly striking a chord with the locals. Dominating the space and crowd alike, Attan are men possessed, furiously beating their instruments into submission while powering through their new album End Of in full – the title track’s nine minute runtime serving as a reminder that the band can inject some melody without losing any of their signature fire. 

After a punishing 35 minutes, the crowd simply won’t let Attan leave, forcing a clearly unexpected encore with the band returning for a victory lap: Edward, from their 2015 effort From Nothing, is a fitting end to the evening, leaving Oslo physically and emotionally exhausted.

If there’s one thing that tonight has proven, it’s the strength of Oslo’s local scene. With several other shows and a festival happening the same night, it’s invigorating to know that the assumptions of Norway being an extreme metal powerhouse are well and truly justified.