Norna "Norna" 12"

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Color: Samsara Edition
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Sale price$28.00

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Description

A formidable power trio, hailing in parts from the icy Swedish northlands and the glacial expanse of the Swiss Alps, named after the three Norse goddesses of fate who wove the very tapestry of fate underneath the mythical World Tree, Norna aren’t messing around.

Their debut album, 2021’s ‘Star is way way is Eye’ was saturated filth; uncompromising, unrelenting ugliness. This though, their eponymous sophomore offering, digs its claws deeper into the dirt. Sharpened, hungry and desperate, born of the moment and yet years in the making; ‘Norna’ liberates a primal rage that has been suppressed for far too long.

Despite only forming in 2020, the three pillars of Norna bring decades of heaviness with them. Consisting of Swedish post-hardcore pioneer Tomas Liljedahl (Breach, The Old Wind) and Swiss stalwarts Christophe Macquat and Marc Theurillat (both of instrumental juggernaut Ølten), Norna came together as a perfect storm of abrasive influences, harnessed by friend and producer Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna), to create something new, limitless and terrifying.

Determination, distance and the enforced isolation of the pandemic meant that Norna approached the creative process differently on ‘Star is way way is Eye’. Rather than defining their music around needlessly complex riffs or trapping themselves in established song structures, the band instead built colossal walls of crushing guitar noise before carving away at the chaos to form the bones of each piece. The results are hypnotic, looping dirges; apocalyptic mantras that take on their own shapes and stories, coming to life with each excruciating reprise…

Finding themselves free from the confines of global catastrophe, Norna took their infernal engine on tour across Europe in 2023 and left mighty festivals like Roadburn trembling in their wake. Returning to the studio to work on what would eventually become their self-titled second album, Norna and producer Lindberg at first tried exploring alternative processes and arrangements now afforded to them by the luxuries of space and time. However, the band soon returned to their tried and true format honed on the road in order to capture their sound at its realest, its rawest.

Sculpted the same way as their debut album, with ideas and hooks hewn from a mass of noise held quite literally in the clouds (Dropbox being the band’s platform of choice), Norna this time entered the process with a vision; a final, horrific form in mind. As such, the eponymous record pushes their boundaries even further beyond the extreme, with even the briefest moments of calm quickly curdled by the band’s use of insidious ambient synthesisers, manipulated samples and even more distortion.

There’s a similar nefarious theme to the lyrics on ‘Norna’ too, with Tomas delving into the world of light and dark to explore ideas of duplicity, morality and expose all of the actions and feelings that humanity prefers to keep in the shadows. Lead single ‘Ghost’ is stomach churning proof that the doom merchants have refined their seething abrasion in something uglier still, with a 5-minute barrage of unresolved riffs leaving the listener beside themselves before the likes of album opener ‘Samsara’ act like a blows to the head as breakdown after breakdown slow us all down to an agonising crawl…

Elsewhere, tracks such as ‘For Fear of Coming’ further highlight the distinct evolution of Norna’s inimitable sound with an ever-so-slightly elevated tempo and the semblance of something approaching a melodic hook promptly obliterated by rattling, ripped-speaker overdrive and a dusting of eerie found sounds. 

It’s here in this dichotic balance of joyous creation and total destruction, between the beginning and the end of all things, that Norna have positioned themselves with their latest offering. Unlike so many of us, the band have come to terms with the ugly truth that you can’t have one without the other, which makes perfect sense because, as broken, discordant and disgusting as ‘Norna’ is, it’s impossible to stay away.

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