To put it mildly, the Norwegian band MoE is enthusiastic about experimentation. In fact, they're downright dedicated to it, crafting unconventional music that's anchored in heavy, weird rock but taking that broad term in just about every direction possible. Though their output all shares some common factors, 'consistency' is simply not the goal here. Their upcoming album The Crone features a large heaping of noise rock and sludge elements, but it's a complex affair that sees the group gleefully avoiding the conventions attached to those genres in favor of creating an entirely bespoke work that dives into drone and ambient spaces as well. While the unpredictability involved may not be for everyone, for those interested in seeing exactly how weird rock can get, The Crone is a fascinating puzzle to try and piece together. We're premiering it in full here before it releases Friday.

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The Crone is a tense journey that's punctuated by moments of catharsis where everything falls into place. Rumbling guitars, paranoid synthesizers, and monstrous percussion serve as gnashing bedrock for vocalist Guro S. Moe to issue cryptic poetry over, bringing a tale to life in a combination of spoken word, whispers, screams, and more.

There's plenty of gloriously discordant grooves to love, but these jagged pieces are all stitched into a larger picture. The Crone is, as the band puts it, "more filmatic," than some of their other work, with all of its unusual sonic happenings connected by a narrative thread. There's a clear escalation throughout the album up to a crescendo in "White Rose (Monster)," which is also the longest and most intense track. Having enlisted the help of Ole-Henrik Moe and Kari Rønnekleiv, who also added violin and viola to UIver's Flowers of Evil, discomfiting strings adorn key points in the album and especially this track. They bridge the heavier parts, creating an uncomfortable contrast with the rock-oriented aspects even at their prettiest, and providing eerie soundscapes for Moe's whispers to permeate when they turn dissonant.

It's not easy listening—you might get turned around a bit if you aren't paying attention—but what MoE has created here is a daring excursion into the narrative power of heavy music.

The band comments:

We had this idea of making an album that was more filmatic, it flows and there are different scenes, and it pushes forward. With some kind of storyline. And that last song, unbelievably slow and heavy, as the world itself twists and twirls, before a small snippet of a song hits. It took…just to realize this was how it should be, that took a long time.

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The Crone releases March 11th via Vinter Records.

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