Thu 19th July 2018
After three demo / EP releases of frankly stunning black, doom, hardcore amalgamation, there is a tangible excitement pressing play on Jøtnarr's debut full length. Our review of their last release, the Burn and Bury EP, excitedly proclaimed Jøtnarr as top of the class for these sounds on our island, and subsequent live experiences have only increased that fandom. I'd say this better be good, but I know it will be.
Within seconds, there's a warmness of a familiar sound, the thrill of hearing them immediately confirming the hopes you have for the album will be realised. First track Even Further Mark lasts barely two minutes, but has you hooked.
Jøtnarr have a unique sound - staccato black metal riffs with almost screamo-end punk, there are many contemporaries (Bosse De Nage being possibly the closest in mindset), but if exposed to a mere snippet of a track you'd know who you're listening to. And as it is so appealing, for such a young band, it is a weapon to wield wild.
The hardcore element shines through on the beautiful Sleeper, emotionally wrought in its first half, unnervingly engaging in the second, akin to a rollercoaster transition from Scottish masters Kaddish and the beauty-in-black metal of the sadly dormant Black Monolith.
There's similar on pivot track Nazgûl Youth, truly bringing the emo, but there are purer black metal cuts too, early Wode comparisons onDrugs, Terror, Death.
They reserve high moments for the end as well. It ends before three minutes are up, but The Blissful Extinction feels epic, drama in the rise and fall of the flow; it is masterful. Jersey Devil is of similar quality. Hermit closes, spine tingling greatness possibly trumping all else.
That they retain the strength shown in the opening songs, to the spellbinding final triumvirate, is testament to how good this album is, and how good Jøtnarr truly are. I was gushing in my praise of their last release, and here I am again. It is warranted - this is a near perfect album of British metal and hardcore.