When approaching a demo for a first listen, reading the words “Recorded in our rehearsal space […] using two mics straight into a tape player” is enough to make anyone wonder what the quality is going to be like. When that demo belongs to a self-described black metal / crust band, you could be forgiven for expecting a sound like someone has just chucked a house brick and a cymbal into a washing machine on top spin. After the obligatory four count, Colchester’s Jøtnarr do indeed deliver the anticipated wall of million-note-a-minute sound. Instead of sheer white noise however, what we get is something very raw but very listenable, and possibly pretty clever.
Jøtnarr are a three piece comprised of Chris Moore on guitar and vocals, Simon Rollo on guitar, and Oliver Harvey on Drums. The lack of bass player might well account for how relatively un-muddy the band’s DIY demo actually proves to be, but don’t be fooled, even without bass, Jøtnarr are definitely not lacking in bottom-end.
Track ‘I‘ hits the ground scudding along and screeching like a corpse painted banshee for a full minute and gets progressively more interesting from thereon in, culminating in a proper, heavy nod-along stoner-ish groove.
Track ‘II‘ opens with a spooky reverb guitar intro, slams on, then goes from 0 to 600bpm in a second. Again, the track moves along interestingly, reaching a satisfyingly stompy, chugging conclusion.
Although a live recording is, in one sense, the perfect showcase for a band with such a raw sound as Jøtnarr’s – and Hravey’s machinegun drums do come across surprisingly clearly, considering – there is also some very clever musicianship going on with the complex twin guitar lines, which needs to be heard with more clarity to assess and appreciate properly. If Jøtnarr find their way into a studio any time soon I would be very, very interested to hear the result. For now, their demo proves that the band can deliver live and are certainly worth checking out.
Jøtnarr’s Demo is free to download on their bandcamp page.
Scribed by: John Reppion