The traditional career arc for most bands is to tirelessly churn out material in their early years and then leave tax-exiled decades before later releases.
Somehow this Oslo-based lot have done the reverse. They took 18 years to release their debut album after forming in 1994, but Hinsides follows barely a year after their third album, Fort Bak Lyset, a wonderfully idiosyncratic, pagan-themed folk rock affair that was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy. They’re evidently enjoying a creative purple patch, donning their best medieval threads to fit with the themes of this record – the final track, for instance, commemorates 666 years since the Black Death was at its height in Norway. Its 23-minute song-cycle, punctuated with urgent percussion, portentous church bells, ancient instrumentation, spritely flute and the odd rock wig-out represents a powerful final act, but the most instantly likeable moments here are the almost cartoonish ebullience of Hjemsokte Hjem’s opener, and the insistent, riff-driven Tullish folk rock of I Feel Like Midnight. The sole English-sung track, their mixture of native tongue and the language of rock’n’roll feels quite exotic – and who would have understood a word uttered 666 years ago anyway?