The founders of Norway’s newest black-metal outfit, The 3rd Attempt, need no introduction from me. Tchort (Green Carnation, ex-Carpathian Forest, ex-Blood Red Throne, ex-Emperor) and Blood Pervertor (Tchort’s six-string comrade in Carpathian Forest) have ditched the infamous singer of Carpathian Forest and Nattefrost to pursue a new band that still captures that same black ‘n’ roll attitude. Hell, I wasn’t even a doctor the last time Carpathian Forest or Nattefrost released an album. So when I heard Tchort put together a black metal band that combined elements of Carpathian Forest and Blood Red Throne with those of Gorgoroth, Immortal, Bathory, and even Motörhead, I nearly shat myself. After a decade trying to fill the empty crater in my achy-breaky heart with more of Nattefrost’s sadomasochism, I’m stoked to hear the master-behind-the-riffs unleash a sultry combination of all he is; black thrash, blackened rock ‘n’ roll, Scandinavian death, and a variety of surprising twists. Debut Born in Thorns won’t exactly blow you away or break new ground, but it feels so damn good and is one of the more entertaining albums I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing all year.
Many fans are already complaining that Born in Thorns is a cheap knockoff of Carpathian Forest. This begs the question, “is this true?” Not entirely. But do they sound like Carpathian Forest? Just look at that fucking Nattefrost-inspired artwork and you tell me! Is this a bad thing? Absofuckinglutely not. As Tchort said himself, it’s impossible not to sound a little like CF after having been the major songwriter for so many years. So, now it’s out there and you can get over it. What really sets them apart (well, just barely) from the CF sound is the absurd diversity of near-nobody vocalist Ødemark (ex-Midnattsvrede, ex-Necrocave). Tossing in everything but the kitchen sink, he delivers standard black-metal rasps akin to Grutle [Enslaved] and Nattefrost (ok, yes, his rasps are VERY Nattefrost-like) in “Torment Nation” and the unbelievably addictive “Art of Domination.” There are nasty death barks on “We Defy” and “Nekrogrammaton,” and a surprising hybrid of Chuck Billy [Testament]-meets-Athera [ex-Susperia] clean vocals in the “holy shit” moments of the title track and “Beast Within.” His diversity alone makes this worth the purchase and forever brands Tchort and Blood Pervertor as geniuses in The 3rd Attempt Hiring Department.
Not only are Ødemark’s vocals a big part of the aforementioned songs, the riffs behind these tracks solidify them as the best of the album. The opener and “Art of Domination” sport some of the funnest black ‘n’ roll I have heard in years. Between the trashy riffs found midway through these two tracks and the catchy chorus of the latter, I find myself using my shovel for both a grave-excavating tool and a shoulder to lean on as I click my heels. Phasing the spectra with a 180 shift, the outro (which, sadly, is the only memorable part of the song) to “Dark Vision,” the entirety of “Born in Thorns,” and the Immortal-meets-Bathory epicness of “Sons of Winter” lock the brakes on this overloaded hearse as the black ice tickles the tread and sends us over the edge into a heart-stopping, emotional spinout.
Intermixed with the black is the Blood Red Throne-inspired death riffs of “We Defy,” “Nekrogrammaton,” and “Firestorm.” While a powerful addition to the album, “We Defy” and “Firestorm” are fairly standard death-fare. “Firestorm” suffers from a jumbled mix of Dark Tranquillity-esque keys bookending some typical black-thrash riffs as Ødemark reenacts the creepy vocal performance on Defending the Throne of Hell‘s “The Old House on the Hill.” Closing the album with a one-two punch of “meh,” “Firestorm” and the 1349-inspired haunted-house theme song of “Anti-Self” don’t live up to the rest of the album. Thankfully, this is a minor glitch to an overall solid release.
Regardless if The 3rd Attempt found you or you them, listeners shouldn’t expect groundbreaking material from Born in Thorns. However, this is one fun ride that – albeit a few hiccups – fills that retched void in my heart where stagnant sludge usually pools. Let it dominate you.