Of Darkness and Light
NEON PUNK METAL: For iconic duos such as Årabrot, how they have created music for the past 10 albums is what continues to set them apart from the rest of the scene. The Norwegian unit has constantly gone out of the box since their 2005 debut album, Proposing a Pact with Jesus, cementing their impressively decorated and aggressive sound that only seems to get better with time. Operating out of Djura Missionshus, their home studio in the deconsecrated church in rural Sweden where they live with their two children, Årabrot consists of vocalist/guitarist Kjetil Nernes and his wife, vocalist/keyboardist Karin Park. However, this band stands out from the competition for more than just their style and music production.
While these are important aspects, what truly sets them apart is their unwavering love for each other and their craft. This love has been the driving force behind their evolution as a duo, inspiring them to constantly improve and innovate. From the way they collaborate to the energy they bring to their performances, it is clear that their passion for music is what fuels their success. This focus has allowed them to establish a distinct sound and identity over the past 20 years, garnering them a devoted fan following and praise for their genuineness and creative vision, all of which are abundantly expressed in their latest album, Of Darkness and Light.
“Hangman’s House” is a sumptuous experience from start to finish, with atmospheric texture, emotive lyrics, booming guitars, and echoing rhythms that make one feel as if the walls of one’s ears are soaking in the exact music created within the church walls they were formed in. This distinct energy continues to lay the blueprint for what’s to come on Of Darkness and Light.
Årabrot continues to shapeshift with the hauntingly charged punk and dreamy aural experience, “Horrors of the Past.” Beautifully combining synths with deep melodic guitar riffs, Årabrot surprises and delivers one unexampled experience after another, redefining and creatively blurring the lines of metal and punk.
“Cathedral Light” and “We Want Blood” breathe another unique theatrical and bombastic presence into the mix. Gritty and infectious, Årabrot provides a hefty, echoing, meaty presence counteracted with electronic bliss to manifest a different kind of larger-than-life listening experience on the record.
“Skeletons Trip the Light Fantastic” is an exceptional track on the album that showcases the band’s prowess in crafting a sound that is both electrifying and macabre. With intense and explosive guitars that perfectly complement its zesty percussive beats, the song’s exuberance is further enhanced by the ornate and captivating melodies that weave in and out of the song’s instrumental energies. Creating a sonic landscape that is both powerful and haunting, “Skeletons Trip the Light Fantastic” is a masterful composition that will certainly make a long-lasting impression on its listeners.
The album concludes with “Love Under Will,” beautifully showcasing Årabrot’s skilled use of melody in both instrumentation and vocals, providing a stunning finale to an impressive record.
It’s no surprise that Årabrot has lasted this long in the industry. Their voltaic presence has always been about delivering an experience full of life and emotion. Of Darkness and Light delivers this raw and impactful experience with the listener in mind, not only making us feel each track experience, but taking us to another place entirely in that process. For these reasons, Årabrot continues to shine in the scene and the rock music industry, with Of Darkness and Light being proof of that artistic vibrance and evolution. ~ Sammie Star