The Divine Light Of A New Sun - Norse
Album: The Divine Light of a New Sun
Genre: Dissonant Black Metal
Review by Thomas Riley Lanyon
If you visit the Bandcamp page of Australian black metal band, Norse, the first thing you’ll see is a short summation of their new album, The Divine Light of a New Sun. It reads as follows: “Black metal merchants Norse return with a futuristic album of wicked dissonance and hooks. Expect the unexpected.” Expect the unexpected is the key line there, and something I wish I’d been privy to prior to hearing The Divine Light of a New Sun. I went into this album armed only with the knowledge that Norse play dissonant black metal, so I was expecting a sound both harsh and exacting; and while it can be that at times, it’s also unique and unusual, something that very much works in the album's favour.
The Divine Light of a New Sun has a habit of throwing curveballs, and this is illustrated immediately by the engaging guitar and rhythm work that kicks off opening jaunt, “Supreme Vertical Ascent”. The off-beat percussion is catchy and unexpected, and the lead riff has a groove to it that feels a lot more stoner than it does black metal. The hoarse, wretched vocals steer things in a more expected direction, however, there is always something interesting either happening or waiting to happen.
On “Drowned by Hope”, and the title track, Norse pair fierce blasts with chorus-like, guitar led passages that claw and hook their way into your grey matter. In fact, the guitar work overall is astonishing, both in its inventiveness and versatility. The guitars scrape, jab, and assault the listener; while somehow being intricate and melodious, often within moments of one another. The percussion is also a highlight. On “Telum Vitae”, the record's longest track, there is a magnificent balance between subtlety and power, not to mention deft changes of pace. On “Exitus”, the drums thunder along with a focused ferocity that breaks into tribal-like tom work that is both refreshing and intoxicating.
Which brings me to the production. For the most part, The Divine Light of a New Sun sounds great, striking a wonderful balance between clean and dirty. The sound is punchy, the instruments are well mixed and discernible from one another, yet there remains an overall lo-fi quality to the production that should please the black metal purist in us all.
With The Divine Light of a New Sun, Norse have crafted what I’m sure will be one of 2017’s most unique black metal records. A record that will surprise you at almost every turn, that isn’t afraid to experiment and think outside the box, and perhaps most importantly, a record that rewards more and more through repeated listening.
9 out of 10.
The Divine Light Of A New Sun is out now via Transcending Obscurity Records.
Watch the official lyric video for the track 'Exitus' below: