Norwegian quintet Ont Vlod (or, Bad Blood) blur genre lines and break down what we know about ‘hardcore’
Natur demonstrates how upbeat, lively pop-punk vibes, seen in the second track Andre Liv, can be combined with much heavier and progressive sounds in tracks such as Giftige Tunga. It’s this blend of genres that keeps each track interesting and sets Natur aside from other releases.
Track one, which is also the titular track of the album, really sets the scene for what’s to come. Beginning with African drums and vocals, it quickly progresses into a metalcore-esque verse which is followed by an overtly pop-punk chorus which shows, in one song, the variety that the album is bringing to the table.
Following the first track, the album then takes a journey through this mix of genres which Ondt Blod must have created. Each song feels heavier than the last, with each track having its own interesting appeal. This is what makes the whole album a joy to listen to from start to finish. No one song feels vastly better or worse than any of the others, showing that a lot of thought must have gone into the creation of Natur as an album rather than it being just a collection of songs.
A particular favourite of mine is the eighth track Storma. With its ambient, electronic intro and saxophone parts in the pre-chorus, the heavy hitting guitar and vocal lines throughout really challenge the listener which is what makes this track, to me, as the perfect summary of what Natur is out to achieve. There are aspects you’d never think would work together, a saxophone breakdown in a rock song?! I’d expect it to stick out like a sore thumb, but somehow Ondt Blod have managed to fit it seamlessly into the track, to the point where the section would sound wrong without it.
With all of its positives, comes a few negatives – nothing is perfect after all! There are points where the album can feel a little lost in the style that it’s trying to create. With so many different genres and ideas flying around, some of the changes between tracks, and even between sections of the songs, feel a bit jarring. This is only a by-product of trying new things and, with some more experience and refining of the direction they want to take, I think Ondt Blod will be one to watch for in the future.
As a relatively new band, having released their first ep – Bunnen – in 2014, they are doing well to pave a new path in the scene. The whole album seems like an experiment of sorts. Seeing what aspects of each genre works with one another and what different things they can include in their music to make it stand out from the crowd.
Natur has a refreshing sound, especially where music can sometimes feel stagnant. It’s great to hear a band trying new things and pushing the scene in a new direction. I’m excited to see them take this new style and turn it into something of their own.