How to Scream Like a Pterodactyl with Kidney Stones
Traditionally speaking, Norway isn’t exactly known for its punk rock. Lately, however, there have been some punk blips on the radar from the Scandinavian Peninsula. This may be due to Norwegian giants Darkthrone playing around with punk and old hardcore styles. Whatever the case, black and death metal may be in danger due to groups such as Haust. Lacking all the studio wiz-bang production, corpse-paint attire, and general “metal” clichés, Haust brings to you one of the most garbage-y sounding albums to emerge out of one of the major metal epicenters in their debut album, NO. Now, just hold on a second– there’s no talk of demons and or any related shit… and it’s from Norway? And it’s called NO? Alright, pretty punk so far, fellas.
Album opener “Raw Material” thuds like a pilled-up Wipers tribute band playing My War-era Black Flag covers. Then, all of a sudden, Sméagol starts screaming his dick off – “FINISH ME!” and “I CAN’T TAKE IT MUCH LONGER!” and “SPIT IN MY FACE!” Woah, dude! This guy must be pissed about that stupid ring again. Jokes aside, Beavis, or Vebjørn Guttormsgaard Møllberg, lead vocalist, knows how to scream like a banshee with a swollen bladder– that’s pretty tight. “Swells” and “Let It Die” bring more of a sludge/thrash quality to the first quarter of NO which shows more variety in style than the whole, “Hey, look, we’re punk!” shindig.
Title track “No” begins like a lost Ride The Lightning-era Metallica b-side, but instead turns into Agent Orange’s hardcore side-project. Throw in a pinch of T.S.O.L. and Melvins, and you have a pretty good idea of where this album is going. “Into The Night” is probably the most brooding of the lot, providing ample time for goblin crooning, ballad-ing, and six-string stoner droning. Then, out of nowhere, “Night” brings you the punk equivalent of a forgotten Stereolab track…just replace the “cute” factor of a soft spoken French female with a pterodactyl with kidney stones.
At this point, Haust was probably thinking, “Alright, that last track was totally not punk enough.” So, naturally, they decide to just punch you in the plums repeatedly with “Mantra,” a track of noticeably shittier production than the rest. Why? D-I-Y, ASSHOLE. THAT’S WHY. “Death Drive” brings a vibe similar to the beginning of the album to tie things up before some seriously brutal late ’60s doom trudging. “Dead of Night” closes the album with an Iommi-approved bong riff over a de-tuned piano that rings out with no change until total silence.
Well, this album just told me to fuck off…not bad. But hey, truth be told, this ain’t for everyone. For example, the toad with intestinal cramps screeching himself catatonic will for sure turn off plenty of folks. However, if you enjoy music that sounds like complete shit (in a good way, of course), Haust’s NO might be one of Norway’s best kept secrets.