When you mix parts Antestor, Grave Declaration, and Vaakevandring and then add in “boredom and bad choices” you get Luteøks and what amounts to a black metal masterpiece with a healthy dose of black comedy thrown in for good measure.
Norway is known for producing great black metal bands and two of them have gotten together in what could be a supergroup project with Luteøks. Having members from Grave Declaration and the legendary Antestor, sets expectations high. Then when you read about potential comedic elements for the album but most of the song titles are in Norwegian, one begins to wonder. Thankfully, there have been some posts on the band’s Facebook page with the song titles and from that one does see there may be some humor involved. I managed to get ahold of the lyrics and with the aid of google translate, it becomes clear.
From the very beginning of “Dritfjell”, the black metal in the vein of Antestor and Grave Declaration really jumps out and is unmistakable. From the characteristic guitar riffs, to the blast beats, to the raspy, growled vocals, this is black metal that I would have instantly thought was Antestor. Lyrically, the song is apparently about a mountain and has some great lines (in Norwegian). Roughly translated, we get,
“We go into the forest
There are trees in the forest
They make me feel
That the trees are made of wood
We go up the mountain
There is stone on the mountain
There are no trees here”
I haven’t looked at the other songs in detail, but right here I can see the humor coming through and it’s an unexpected, but great touch.
“Sekken” has the band bringing in some melodic elements and some great guitar riffs. Production quality is on par with the Antestor and Grave Declaration previous efforts and for black metal is really good with drums being clear even with the droning guitar. From an arrangement standpoint, the band has incorporated some extra elements into the riffs to break up the monotony that can come from black metal and those work extremely well.
“Langtbortistan” begins very differently than one would expect with a cheesy electronic dance beat and some atmospheric keyboards that somehow leads into the main guitar riff for the song. Later in the song, there are some clean vocals as well and a bouncy rhythm that is catchy and apparently some lyrics about margarine. Keyboards play a larger role in the overall sound of this track compared to the earlier songs and the variety of vocals keep the listener guessing.
“Svart” employs a more traditional black metal song opening with a wall of feedback with a slower guitar part layered on top and some double bass drumming going much faster than the slower, plodding riff. This all settles down to a grinding pace for the song with the drum parts adding a lot of variety and different pacing to the song as the riff stays slow and ominous. Ronny Hanielsen’s vocals are perfect for the genre and sound eerie and threatening even if he is mostly talking about not being able to see stars because of clouds.
The album is full of great tracks with phenomenal music and some still seem to be over the top in terms of quality. “Prikkedøden” is one of my favorite tracks on the album with its fast opening and verse section, variety of vocal styles including some clean, slower choruses sections with keyboards becoming more prominent only to have everything shift back into overdrive. Best of all the song appears to be about chopping wood for fires.
In full disclosure, Antestor is one of my favorite bands and when they released Omen in late 2012 after a long hiatus followed by Grave Declaration releasing When Dying Souls Scream Praise not long after, I had the two on continuous replay and both made my top albums for year. Hearing this brings me back to those days and this album has been playing a lot.
Barely True Norwegian Black Metal is what I would consider a masterpiece. From a music standpoint, this is classic black metal done extremely well and keeping most of the songs in Norwegian really disguises the humor as it does still sound incredibly ominous, even when there may be parts of a chorus that say “I look like last year’s potato”. The performances and songcraft that have gone into this project highlight the talent of the band and this should be a must listen for anyone who appreciates black metal.
Written by John Jackson
- Valhalla Halls
- We Sail
- Shaved Vengeance
Torkel Sandbråten Røsten – Bass
Jo Henning Børven – Drums
Kristian Larsen – Guitars
Thor Georg Buer – Guitars
Ronny Hanielsen – Vocals
Release Date: March 10th. 2023
Record Label: Nordic Mission Productions
Social Media: Bandcamp / Facebook
Video for ‘Skjegg’
Video for ‘Sekken’
Video for ‘Shaved Vengeance’