Malossi – Blanke Barter Review

It sounds like a dream or a hallucination. Clutch is actually a Norwegian band. They rock hard, they add a bit more of a desert vibe to their sound (think of a more restrained Kyuss), and they sing in Norwegian. They love to throw things like tuba and harmonica into their songs. Their favorite thing in life is abusing the hell out of scooters (hence the band name). And for their album cover, they use a portrait that basically looks like my dad. Sound crazy? It’s not that far from reality, my friends. Let me introduce you to Malossi, and their second album, Blanke Barter (which according to Google Translate might mean Shiny Mustache). Unapologetically unpretentious in both songwriting and execution, Malossi‘s aim is simple: have fun with their music.

“Far Hass Knut”1 opens with an a cappella rendering of the title. Very cute, and a sign of things to come. Rolling toms, fuzzy guitars, and a bluesy harmonica join in and turn the song into a sweet little jam. “Kløpp Dreieventiln”2 features a great Clutch-like riff and one of my favorite videos of the year. Talk about mad scooter skills! I love a band that doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet can crank out some decent anthems. A killer rhythm section (Pål Salvesen on bass and Øyvind Minsaas on drums) keeps everything on point, while Tommy Hylden’s riffs and solos accompany singer/guitarist Roy Møllerud through all his madcap vocal delivery.

Blanke Barter features a few more choice cuts amongst the ten tracks. “Tusen Mål Jord”3 is the album’s highlight, with a towering riff, slick arrangement, and hypnotic rhythm. “Kaffekjæft”4 brings a live, off-the-floor feel to its swinging rhythm. And the album’s final song, “Drømmer På Boks,”5 is a great desert-blues anthem that brings back some more slinky harmonica playing. It doesn’t hurt that Malossi enlisted Daniel Bergstrand and Fredrik Thordendal to mix the album (the band self-produced). The pair have worked with bands such as In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, and Meshuggah, and they endow the music with just the right amount of chunky aggression. Blanke Barter sounds awesome cranked up loud.

I’ve been accused in the past of docking marks for albums not sung in English. False. In fact, this year my favorite album to date is sung in Romanian. More power to bands that choose to sing in their native tongues. What I do ask, though, is for the press info to provide some details as to themes or lyrical content, so I know what the bands are aiming for in their songs. Here on Blanke Barter I can only assume – due to the song title translations, album cover, band photo, and hilarious video – that this album is very much a light-hearted party record. Most of us may not have a clue what Malossi are on about lyrically, but it’s pretty obvious they’re having a great time, and the attitude is infectious.

Blanke Barter is a ton of fun. Not understanding the lyrics is no big deal; one can tell Malossi are having a massive party while they rock. Riffs abound, and the enthusiastic vocal delivery worms its way into the brain. Your humble reviewer can now lip sync in Norwegian! This is great-sounding, energetic music made for hot summers – so perfect for this scorching, smoky (at least up here) year. Crank it up in your pickup truck, or out by the firepit, sit back, and enjoy.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Rob Mules Records
Websites: malossi.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/Malossi.rock
Releases Worldwide: August 13, 2021

Show 5 footnotes

  1. Through the magic of Google Translate I shall attempt to convey what these song titles mean. Who knows how accurate this is, but this song could be “Father Hated Knot.”
  2. “Knock the Rotary Valve”
  3. Thousand Acres of Land
  4. “Coffee Grounds”
  5. “Dreams on Box”
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