Kjetil Nernes has steered the good ship Arabrot through many ups and a few downs over their lengthy career. They first started as a noise rock band recording with such well known producers as Steve Albini and Billy Anderson. They even won a Norwegian Grammy. Nernes was diagnosed with throat cancer back in 2014, fought it, and made a full recovery. Over that time, Arabrot have transformed from a noise rock band to a heavy, twisted, art-rock band that just want to rock. Their most recent albums are a testament to this, and so is their thunderous live show.
In addition, now the only two constant members of the band are Nernes and his wife/partner-in-musical-crime, vocalist/keyboard player, Karin Park.
Arabrot’s 10th album, Of Darkness And Light, follows two years after their stunning 2021 album, Norwegian Gothic. It was recorded by Alain Johannes (QOTSA, PJ Harvey) at the deconsecrated church, Djura Missionshus (aka The Church Of Arabrot), that Nernes and Park, with their family, operate out of in rural Sweden.
It is another feather in their musical cap.
Opening track “Hangman’s House” sets the tone for the album, where softer, more nuanced sounding verses give way to thunderous, distortion-heavy, hard-rocking choruses. They do this to great effect on several of the songs, including the heavy hitting, “Cathedral Light,” “We Want Blood,” and “Fire!” “Skeletons Trip The Light Fantastic” is a goth-infused, hard-rocking song that is also one of the best earworms on the album. So catchy and perfect for the season.
“You Cast Long Shadows” which was originally written for Sebastian Bach, but then rejected, is made into a total Arabrot song, a dark, moody, murder ballad. Bach’s loss is Arabrot’s gain. “Horrors Of The Past” is a dark-pop nugget, while “Madness” adds some electronic beats to their heady mix. Album closer “Love Under Will” is a dark, psychedelic pop song that puts a nice bow on the proceedings.
Of Darkness And Light is another excellent album from a band that are known for quality albums. It is dark, hard-hitting, catchy, and a bit blasphemous. What more could you want in a rock album these days?
Get down with the Church Of Arabrot. It’s such a holy place to be.
Buy Of Darkness And Light here.