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Debut: Årabrot – “The Story of Lot”

Norway’s Årabrot are an odd band, and an even odder success story. Their core is effectively one guy: Kjetil Nernes, who (mostly) sings and plays guitar. Årabrot started with a stable lineup, but has since become a much looser collective — “a big family,” as Nernes puts it in this interview with the Quietus. “We use people who are available at the time, which is important now that we are growing older. Not everyone can be available all the time to play live 150 days in the year.”

This approach is unusual in the heavy music world, where bands generally consist of tight-knit units that rely on a few fixed roles. It has worked out well for Nernes. In 2011, Årabrot won a Spellemanprisen — a prestigious award that the excellent thrash band Nekromantheon has also earned — for their album Solar Anus.

Because Årabrot does not have a fixed lineup, Nernes is free to pursue his vision along unpredictable axes. We streamed a song from their self-titled LP earlier this year, but “The Story of Lot” doesn’t even sound like the same band. While Årabrot are best known as a Melvins-style heavy rock act, this tune has no metal influences to speak of. Instead, Nernes spins the famous tale of alcohol-fueled Biblical incest over a motorik beat, a bassline that Al Cisneros might’ve written within the last few years, and a slow-growing mass of analog noise. This goes on for some 15 minutes, but time is fungible when you’re under its spell.

“The Story of Lot” comprises most of Årabrot’s Murder As Art EP, which comes out in the States via Red Eye on November 26. Stream it below.

— Doug Moore

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