[Reviewed by stark]
In the time when black metal became just another cog in commercial machine on one hand, and a convenient vessel for further experiments on another, there are still bands and labels for whom time has stopped in the mid-90s. And while I don’t mind all these new, often pretty inspiring, groups which are more popular among so-called “hipsters” rather than metal fans, I also have a respect for the eulogists of the old days, when there still was a rebellion, a true obscurity and a freezing darkness surrounding that music.
Norns are from Finland and “Pazuzu” is a four-song EP, which in total is less than 20 minutes long. The guys are hidden behind significant pseudonyms, “Behemoth” (I bet they still prefer “Sventevith” rather than “The Satanist”), “Destruction” and “Vulcan”. Everything made like 20 years ago, even the bloody cover with the corpsepainted fellow in a cemetery. The Darkthrone spirit will never die. And the four songs are nothing new under the godless sun (or the funeral moon if you prefer) either: mid-tempo, melodic riffs, marching drums, some blasts. They also use keyboards, but in quite a deliberate manner – one wouldn’t even notice their presence. And the cold sound, like straight out of a damp cellar. One can hear the echoes of Bathory, sometimes the first Ulver or Satyricon recordings, perhaps a little bit of Burzum here and there.
At the time I’m reading Dayal Patterson’s “Black Metal: Evolution of The Cult” book (recommended) and during my lecture I listen to more or less classic black metal albums, some for the first time in 15 years or more. And what touched me is the fact that many of those who seemed fresh and “avant-garde” back then, have now turned very old and, what can I cay, often very hard to listen. Like “La Masquerade Infernale” by Arcturus or “Nexus Polaris” by Covenant. Not to mention Dimmu Borgir’s majestic farts. It’s all so ridiculous now, not only the music, but also the fact that they were considered to be so groundbreaking, possibly something to remember for centuries. While the raw poetry of the classic Mayhem, Darkthrone or Burzum is still alive and inspiring. And I suppose that it will be alive for another 20 or 50 years, while bands like Deafheaven, Myrkur or Wolves In The Throne Room will vanish and dissolve in time. Hence I see the point of existence of such bands as Norns. It’s better to have 50 diehard fans, than thousands who will be gone when the next trend will come.