From their outward trappings and the way they talk about themselves and their music, you might not be inclined to take the Norwegian band Drittmaskin as seriously as you should. They seem to relentlessly make fun of themselves and under-sell what their music is capable of accomplishing. But pay no attention to that — instead, pay attention to the 12 tracks on their frankly astonishing new album Svartpønk. You’ll have your first chance to do that today, because we’ve got a full stream of the record in advance of the album’s October 8 release.
Trying to pigeonhole these new songs in genre terms is a confounding exercise. Svartpønk translates to “Blackpunk”, and there is indeed a hybrid of d-beat punk and black metal strongly at work here. But that’s not nearly an exhaustive list of the ingredients that Drittmaskin have joined together. They also pull from the wells of old-school thrash, arena-ready “classic” heavy metal, crust, death metal, and more. Some ingredients are more pronounced in some songs than in others, i.e., they are definitely not interchangeable, and that’s part of what makes the full run through the album such a relentless thrill-ride, but every song is a genre-bender.
photo by Arne Leivdal
The songs are driven by gut-slugging drumwork that veers from punk scampering to bludgeoning hammer blows, from brutish stomps to ferocious blast-beats, all of it accompanied by a deep humming and thrusting bass. You’ll encounter brazen, vicious chords and frenzied tremolo-picked swarms, but the songs further reveal swirls of gleaming and mysterious brilliance. As for Grindadrap’s vocals, they include furious throat-ruining screams and nasty rasping snarls, which expel pronouncements on “topics such as media criticism, plague, geriatric orgy fantasies, eating your colleagues, suicide, binge-drinking, preferences in tobacco, urine-drinking, and antitheism” (to quote the band).
The tracks reveal barbed hooks galore and a savagely rebellious attitude, with melodies that range in their moods from torment to bleakness, from primal fury to crazed ecstasy, from supernatural menace to hulking monstrosity. There are moments of ominous grandeur and episodes of slashing barbarity. Some songs sound like anthems of disgust and despair, others like explosions of violent defiance.
photo by Arne Leivdal
As rough and raw as the band’s attacks sometimes seem, when you least expect it they’ll make clear that they have an ear for gripping melody and highly headbangable classic metal riffing. Some of the tracks are swift kicks in the ass, and others (such as “Rottekrig”) are sweeping and (dare we say!) magnificent. There are even horror-movie keyboards, a dancehall piano, and other acoustic instrumentation in the mix. And the long wailing guitar solo in “Krig” is just downright glorious (and chilling at the same time) — and it’s not the only one.
It’s tempting to provide further observations on a track-by-track basis because each song has its own personality. But rather than risk becoming tedious, we’ll just give you over to the full album stream
The band recorded the album themselves, and convinced Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust) to master it. The mind-blowing cover art was created by Wooden Cyclops. The album will be released on vinyl and digital formats.
We’ve got some links to share, but we’ll first share a couple of quotes from the band’s founders for further insights:
Avstralopithecvs (band-founder, guitarist, producer, mixing, songwriter):
“The wide spectrum of raving wild and mad music – such as Germbomb, Aphex Twin, Igorrr, Aura Noir, Poison Idea, S.O.D., and Darkthrone – has always had a strong pull on me, and when working together with Grindadrap I get a feeling that we have a unique take everything ranging from old school hardcore punk and thrash to black metal. You know. Like we have a mission. That we just might have something slightly new to say. I’m so fed up with the unimaginative run-of-mill visual and lyrical imagery many bands serve, and I hope that Drittmaskin can at least give a slight variation to people in need of pure and raw savagery.”
Grindadrap (band-founder, lyricist, vocalist):
“None of us ever feels at home anywhere. We never have. I guess we’re not that sociable. But we do somewhat enjoy the community between us as a band – mocking and cursing every active band in the scene… Those spineless, aimless, bloodless, fearful know-it-alls.“