Well, Område have done it again. Two years ago, I opened their Edari review talking about the marriage of an album to its artwork. What seems simplistic turns out to quite difficult. Finding the right artist and the right piece of art to match an album’s character is like food presentation. For instance, if not careful, you’ll turn your entire family against your amazing chili dogs. I thought the artwork of Område‘s debut was the perfect match to its sound, but Nåde takes the cake (or, in this case, a foot-long chili coney). Though darker and more apocalyptic than its predecessor, Nåde‘s own cover art represents it better than anything else chiseled, penned, or painted for it. But, it won’t be clear on the first spin. Nåde is a dish best tasted more than once. It’s a dish as pleasing to the taste buds as it is to the eyes. But you’ll need to keep trying it. Because it’s odd. Very odd. With each taste, you’ll think you’re closer to understanding it, but it’s hopeless. Somehow, it remains consistent, while evolving with every bite. Just like the chef that crafted it, Nåde is one of a kind.

On the surface, Område has not changed much since Edari. But, at the same time, Nåde is no Edari. All those layers of electronica, trip-hop, and avante-garde remain, but Nåde uses them differently. For one, there is no easing into the Område sound as there was with Edari. “Malum” opens Nåde with a healthy serving of techno atmospheres and effect-buried cleans—a la Manes and Ulver. And just to be sure you’re ready for what’s coming, the song fills your ears with everything the album has to offer: strings, trumpets, impressive bass leads, and lush piano. For six minutes, it sweeps through trip-hoppy sampling, cowers in Pink Floyd-esque weirdness, and finally concludes with those haunting ivories. I know, it’s a lot to take in right away. But hold onto your butts.

“Malum” ain’t nearly as stacked as “The Same for the Worst.” This is, perhaps, the most impressive and insane song the band has ever written. It opens like a film noir, with our insomnia-suffering private investigator alternating between whiskey shots and interrogations in the red-light district. The thumping bass, the soaring saxophone, and the Garm-like cleans transport you into a land few explore and fewer still understand. In the back-half, female whispers cover up the Ulver cleans as the piano sets a new pace. And when the tension cracks, the sax lets loose as the song erupts into an industrial groove. It’s a mindfucking journey that pounds and soothes, never letting up its nearly eight-minute length.

But, closer “Falaich” is the ultimate epic of the record, like the soundtrack to an biblical battle. Opening with Ava Inferi guitar work, this one builds and builds; using piano, orchestration, and hypnotic whistling to set its tone. Like “Styrking Leið,” this one expands to the point of bursting. While the tension in “Styrking Leið” finally snaps at its climactic conclusion, “Falaich” pops much sooner. But, this doesn’t mean “Falaich” lays back and flatlines. Instead, it brings everything to the front as the vocals crescendo and the bass drum unleashes a nonstop barrage of power. When the day comes for burning bodies to descend from the heavens, this song will be playing1.

But Nåde is not all epic, lengthy pieces. “XII” and “Baldar Jainko” are a couple examples of more “reasonable” tracks. OK, so maybe just “XII.” “Baldar” is just fucking weird. Delivering a strange combination of distant screams, techno groove, wild bass leads, and reverberating chapel chants, “Baldar Jainko” will have you WTF-ing everything you knew about music. “Enter,” on the other hand, is a simple ditty with a trip-hoppy pace and catchy Kurt Cobain-like vocal arrangements that eventually break down and turn sinister. Then the clarinet-charged “Hänelle” arrives—standing out above the rest for its accessible and addictive chorus.

In the end, Nåde is another platter of Område metal/non-metal/something-metal. Though different in many ways to the debut, it’s equally effective. Also equal is the outstanding production. Not only will it take many listens to absorb the band’s odd sound, but you’ll need repeat spins to explore every dynamic nook and cranny. Område ain’t for everybody and their approach won’t be predictable for those that need verse-chorus structure. But, if you’re feeling as adventurous as pyromaniac skydivers, strap yourself into a tiny, white-walled room, pop the cork on some good shit, and let this one ravage your mind.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: My Kingdom Music
Websites: omradetheband.wixsite.com/omrade  | facebook.com/Omradetheband
Releases Worldwide: May 26th, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. I thought it would be “When the Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash. – Steel
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  • Diego Molero

    I like this… I think.

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    NON-METAL/SOMETHING

    • Angry Metal Something?

      • Eli Valcik

        Angry Something Guy

      • Dr. Scorpion

        Something something

  • The Akerstache

    Huh

    • basenjibrian

      Epic user name Akerstache!
      I dont know. This is wierd but not all THAT weird to me. All I know is I like it and love the video.

  • Martin Knap

    Nicely done, cOMRADEs.

  • Brent Johnson

    I’m wondering what chemicals have to be ingested to really like this? It’s like listening to guys who have majors in music theory, some of it makes sense but after about 5 minutes i’m humming The Trooper in my head.
    Now, the video actually helps, like a mini movie score.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    “… strings, trumpets, impressive bass leads, and lush piano.”
    If there’s no cow bell, this baby don’t surf!

    • You could have just said, “Needs more cowbell.” That would have sufficed.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Innovation!

  • Mr Banden

    The band/album name have me utterly confused. Are they Danish?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, this was a topic of conversation in during their last album. Lots of different languages.

      • PanzerFistDominatrix

        It’s a weird name if they’re Danish. Even more weird if they’re not.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Nope, not Danish. French.

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            The plot thickens…

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      I DONT SEE RACE

      • You wot m8?

        Is Danish a race now? Does that mean Croissant is a race?

        • PanzerFistDominatrix

          Yes, absolutely – and a master race at that. Atlantis, pyramids, the Great Wall of ”China”, all that shit, that was us.

    • The words Område and Nåde means Area and Mercy respectively, in both Danish and Norwegian. But the band could still hail from just about anywhere.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Unbelievable art. Didn’t even need a positive score, this is a keeper.

    • You wot m8?

      Seriously. Synchronized artistic style on album cover, and band photo? Yeah!

  • That cover art is fantastic. Thanks for the review, it’s always interesting to be introduced to new something-metal. This band seems like a weird one.

    Speaking of awesome cover art, are you guys going to review the new Elder album? Holy moly.

    • SlapDatAss

      I know, right? Their previous album was also fantastic and that too didn’t get a review from these dudes.

      • SlapDatAss

        Speaking about Elder.

  • Felchmeister777

    Not as good as their debut, but I think 3.5/5 is about right. Plenty of great moments, it just gets a little repetitive at times & a few of the ‘industrial’ moments feel really dated…

  • Thatguy

    Band photometer says ‘we’re artists.’

    Yeah, whatever. I’ve heard all this before.

  • Eli Valcik

    I’ve had it with all of this sub-genera stuff! Let me write a review where I just fanboy the hell of of Windir’s 1184 and I’s Between Two Worlds!

  • Eli Valcik

    Hey, did you guys ever get a promo for the new Solstafir?
    spoiler: it’s ok

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      We did.

      • Eli Valcik

        neat

      • Eli Valcik

        Wait, while I got you here are you guys going to do a piece on NW Terror Fest? I’m up in Seattle and I am beyond pissed that I am missing it. Hopefully I can secure a way down to Vegas for Psycho Fest.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Not sure… Don’t think any of us are gonna make it.

    • I’ve been listening to it for the last couple of days and for it’s easily the album of the year so far. When the preview tracks were released I wasn’t convinced, but after listening to the whole album multiple times it’s just incredible, including those pre release tracks. It all works beautifully.

      • Eli Valcik

        I just miss the banjo from Otta, also I found the band to focus more on hooks however this focus seemed to sacrifice the somber rock and roll feel that the previous album had. But at the end of the day it just comes down to taste, I loved Otta for it’s solitary feel that is no longer as present. Do I think Berdreyminn is a good album? Yes. Do I think it is as good as Otta? No.

        Edit: also I’m a 18 year old black metal fan so what the fuck do I know?

        Edit: Oh yeah, I totally see you on the whole preview track thing, the two they released seemed really weird but when you listened to the whole album they work really well.

        • Drew Music

          Ok seems fair, and I’m alright when that. I knew they weren’t going to top Otta, that title track alone is just plain unfuckwithable.
          I am curious, though, did you mean you’ve spent eighteen years with the glory of black metal or that you’re a youngin? Makes no difference to me, but it does chance the hypothetical answer to the hypothetical question rather significantly.

          • Eli Valcik

            I’m a young one, but I have spent a majority of my life with the satanic stuff. I can totally see how that being interpreted the wrong way could lead me to sound like an asshole. I was pretty much saying “I’m young so I pretty much don’t know jack shit about much.”

    • Should have a review up shortly.

      • Eli Valcik

        Cool

  • I like the embedded track a lot.

  • Eli Valcik
  • Innit Bartender

    Damn, this music requires time and concentration and I have to go tend my tomatoes.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Even though I had never wondered “What if Immolation hired Vincent Van Gogh instead of Andreas Marschall to paint the cover art for “Dawn Of Possession”? now I know the answer.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    The embedded track made think of Berlin’s “Take my breath away” covered by The Sisters Of Mercy.

  • I really like this, but since I own all of Ulver’s discography, this seems a bit redundant, no? Maybe I’m being harsh, and it’s a grower. At the moment it sounds like Themes from William Blake’s the Marriage of Heaven and Hell mixed with David Bowie’s Outside…

  • beurbs

    Loving it so far, it’s like NIN and the saxophonist from Eremita tried to remake Björk’s “Vulnicura”