Årabrot: The Gospel

What doesn’t kill you simply makes you… stranger

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Noise rock darlings Årabrot sound defiant on album seven, frontman Kjetil Nernes having recently overcome throat cancer. Vitriolic from his brush with death, he’s a martinet demanding your obedience with the impertinent thrust of a dildo-tipped cane on the titular opener, a martial stomp berating humankind’s aptitude for knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

The album, produced in part by legendary noisenik Steve Albini and featuring the rarefied talents of Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley, among others, is initially rich in melody but instrumentally sparse. Tall Man exists on a piano-led refrain and backbone of exuberant bass, leading to the epic, 10-minute crawl of Faustus, its uneasy atmosphere climaxing in one of the album’s most robust riffs, heralding its wrathful close. On the predatory I Am the Sun, Kjetil croons of ‘Suicide, hung by garters’, an image of erotic oblivion that effectively evokes Årabrot’s delight for subversion. His enigmatic personality dominates, reminiscent of rock’s classic frontmen, his spiteful croon weaving tales of sex and war; an effective summation of human depravity if ever there was one.