Vi Overlevde (We Survived in English) is the first full-length LP from the Norwegian black metal band Bizarrekult. The group has a professed preoccupation with the tranquility of nature’s balance of life and death and the philosophical insights that such equilibriums can inspire when reflected upon by humans. They express this appreciation primarily through sharp, lichen-lined guitar chords and grooves that pound the Earth with prejudice, like the bodies of great oak trees, felled in waves by King Magnus’s might ax. Bizarrekult does a lot of things well, but one of their greatest talents is the ability to establish stable footing for both enchanted atmospheres and steadily vicious instrumentation. Vi Overlevde sounds like Enslaved attempting to cultivate a kernel of chaos from their early releases and ending up sounding like Watain.
A great example of how Bizarrekult bridges the divide between the disparate poles of their sound is “I Trygge Hender” This is a track that opens like a pale horse and rider, remorselessly pillaging a coastal settlement, whose classic Darkthrone inspired reign of terror is interrupted, unceremoniously, to make way for an ethereal exhale of restorative, graceful forms, guided by the lulling coo of a woman’s voice accompanied by a toe-tapping cymbal rap straight out of a post-pop jazz record. It should not work. “I Trygge Hender” should be two different songs, on to separate records. But they’re not, and work together, they do. It’s a trip and a half, causing your own jaw to become a tripping hazard as it perpetually drags on the ground.
The track sequencing is discernably even-handed to enable the dynamics presentation. Whatever aspect of Bizarrekult’s sound you enjoy the most, you’ll find extraordinarily well-curated wings devoted to those styles throughout Vi Overlevde‘s runtime. Whether you prefer songs that resemble calming, elegant mists, weaving between moss-covered trees (“Fremmede Kyster”), or black bonfires, stoked in a celebration of conflagration (“For 1000 År Siden”), Bizarrekult will gratify your desires. Whether you’re an Ulver fan (“Avskjed”) or are just looking for something to suit your lousy attitude (“Alt Er Bortkastet”), there is no shortage of songs to earn your appreciation on Vi Overlevde.
Buy and stream Vi Overlevde below via Bandcamp:
Vi Overlevde is out via Petrichor Records. Check them out here.