Roaming the underground of the west coast of Norway is my main occupation besides the one that pays the bills. Living in the west coast as a young metalhead in the 80s meant that no international band would come anywhere near my small hometown. You would have to cross the mountains separating the west and the east of Norway, no easy task for a youngster. But the underground has given me opportunities to experience many great bands on the smaller scenes here.
My definition of west coast Norway is the 3 counties: Rogaland, Hordaland and Sogn & Fjordane, you get the feeling of Viking ships, mountains, fjords, forests and metal, right? Covering an area of 43,000 square kilometers, miles and miles of coastline, about 1.1 million people living here, so it is sparsely populated. This area has brought some great bands, such as Windir, Enslaved, Taake, Gorgoroth, Immortal, Burzum, Gehenna and Kvelertak to name those who may be most familiar.
2018 has been a great year for metal all over the world. This is my tiny contribution to the many lists around: it is a top 15, rated in accordance with how much they hit me this year. The genres vary, because I’m open-minded, I tell you. Time will tell how they are holding up in years to come, but I have a real good feeling about these fine releases:
1. Djevel – Blant Sorte Graner
Black Metal does not get better than this.
2. Sepulcher – Panoptic Horror
Thrash / Death Metal from Fusa.
3. Cor Scorpii – Ruin
Melodic Black Metal 10 years since their last album.
4. Einherjer – Norrøne Spor
Viking Metal, 25 years into their career, their best album.
5. Shakma – House of Possession
Thrash Metal, debut album of the year.
6. Art of Deception – Path of Trees
Death Metal, now changed their name to Deception.
7. Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Black Metal, the return to Blashyrkh.
8. Vreid – Lifehunger
Melodic Black Metal with a distinct groove.
9. Myrkraverk – Nær Døden
Nasjonalnekromantisk Svart Metal (Black Metal).
10. Skambankt – Horisonten Brenner
Hard Rock, their 6th and best album.
11. Krakow – Minus
Stoner/ Post Rock, layers of beauty…
12. Aeternus – Heathen
Dark Metal, 8th album from the underground legends.
13. Ring van Möbius – Past the Evening Sun
70’s Prog, analog love.
14. Dunbarrow – Dunbarrow II
Heavy rock inspired by the early doom of the 70’s.
15. Slegest – Introvert
Heavy Rock meets Black Metal = Sogna Metal
Fittingly my number 10, Skambankt (Severely Beaten), presents the West Coast in this official video: “Balladen om deg” (“The ballad about you“) from “Horisonten brenner” (“The horizon is burning“).
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.