No wove its way onto my playlist around mid way through the year thanks to a tip-off from an Angry Metal Reader, and wow what a find! These angry, snarky cats originate from Notodden in the hills of Norway, but rather than puking out another Darkthrone Unholy Trinity, Haust‘s fourth full-length deliver’s a raw, primeval tirade of rock meets punk, culminating in total humiliation and the realization of one’s limitations. Their brand of crust punk has some of the same Motörhead influence found on Amibix‘s Arise album, takes a dawdling stab at Fukpig‘s venomous delivery and ultimately ends up back at Darkthrone, but adopting influence from their more recent work The Cult is Alive.
The shit-storm kicks off with “Raw Material,” and it’s precisely that, it’s loaded with the nihilistic, stripped down, DIY swagger synonymous to punk rock combined with all the brutal aggression of extreme metal. Vebjørn’s vocal style is a blend of impassioned, abrasive, blackened screams with a narrated edge and accent drenched rolling of the Rs. Oddly enough, instead of working on my nerves, in “Swells” and “Let it Die” it ends up being almost endearing and adds to the over-reaching Venom-like crudeness of the tracks.
Despite the fuzzed out old-school production used on No, there’s a hidden newness or modernity to the tracks. Henrik’s bass is audible and adds an interesting layer to “Raw Material” and “Let it Die’s” distortion. But the real highlight is “Night”, which starts off deceptively poppy and then ends up dirtier than a back alley whore. BlackRace (guitars) focuses on providing a driving, sludgy, fuzzed out rhythm rather than actual melody in tracks like “Swells,” “Into The Night” and “Let it Die.” There’re also some fleshy guitar solos to sink your teeth into, like the first few moments of dementia in the title track and then there’re those few moments of dragging pessimism in “Death Drive” that tie in well with the vocals bringing this baby together.
The long and the short of it is, Haust come across as the kind of musicians that aren’t exactly brimming with technical prowess and No falls into that murky disarray somewhere between Venom and Hellhammer on my playlist. For what Haust lack in technical ability they more than make up for in blazing, white hot determination in relaying their pessimistic message. If what I’ve already said about this album doesn’t tempt, maybe Oslo-based illustrator and comic artist, Esben Titland’s ‘Red John’ cover art might!
Tracks to check: “Swells,” “No,” “Death Drive” and “Dead of Night”