Negativ, Projections (Mirthless Laughter, 2018)

Norway has long excelled at producing aggressive yet tense music since the dawn of its hardcore scene—sure, most people think of Norwegian punk as just Turbonegro and who doesn’t love a rendezvous with anus from time to time? But even famed the Denim Demon, Happy Tom, got his start playing primitive, anxiety-inducing hardcore in Akutt Innleggelse.

Norway seems to excel in the stuff—Fader War, Svart Framtid, Jin’Rik’Sha, Alltid Jaget, Ordrenekt… the list is thousands long and so its good to add Oslo’s Negativ to that long tradition.

Do you remember the first time you heard Rudimentary Peni? Like really heard them in all their creepy-crawly, writhing inside your brain and gnawing at your cerebral cortex beauty? Or the uncomfortable stuttering stop and start of Die Kruezen’s “Live Wires” – the overarching sense of dread mired in a sea of sonic apprehension where you feel your sense of equilibrium slipping away as you try to piece the missing spaces together so the music make sense? That’s what Negativ gives to you—a jagged, hook-laden, riffing hardcore paired to a pounding, staccato drum attack that crashes into a swirling turbulent sea of creeping misery augmented by snarling razorblades gargled vocals.

Working my way through the record, at times it almost feels literary—like you can almost visualize Montresor slowly bricking up Fortunato as he pleads for mercy—the sound of the jester’s bells echoing faintly out in response, the slowly fading flicker of a torch the last he sees as a dampness of despair from the catacombs overtakes him.

That’s what this record feels like—uncomfortable, despondent, and desperate hardcore. It’s absolutely perfect in execution and presentation.

Photo found on Bandcamp

Projections is currently available via Mirthless Laughter, with free shipping to the USA. The release is limited to 300 hand-numbered records on white vinyl with a sticker and MLR Obi strip.

Negativ is currently on tour in the US at the dates listed below.

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