From the depths of Trondheim’s underground scene emerges Den elektriske salmebok (The Electric Book of Psalms), a band that dares to add their eerie take on the experimental punk and post rock with their latest offering, “Jonategnet” (The Sign of Jonah). This Norwegian ensemble, amidst a landscape often dominated by the icy tones of black metal, brings a refreshing warmth to their sound, a nod to the country’s midnight sun.
In their journey, Den elektriske salmebok draws inspiration from a variety of sources, ranging from the atmospheric grandeur of MONO to the lyrical poignancy of Sufjan Stevens. They weave these influences into a sound uniquely their own, reminiscent of the diverse and vibrant Norwegian music scene. This scene, contrary to the cold and eerie stereotypes, is as diverse as the country’s seasons, shifting from the warmth of summer to the bleakness of winter.
Den elektriske salmebok’s music echoes this diversity.
The band’s vocalist remarks, “We find inspiration in everything from Bluetile Lounge to The Innocence Mission, and it’s evident in our sound.” This eclectic mix is not just a stylistic choice but a tribute to the band’s influences, a homage to the giants of the Norwegian music scene.
Their list of inspirations reads like a who’s who of Norwegian music.
From the emotional depth of Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson to the crust punk energy of The Spectacle, each band has left an indelible mark on Den elektriske salmebok’s sound. They draw from La Casa Fantom’s experimental crust, Dominic’s massive offerings, and the haunting atmospheres of Fighterpilot, blending these elements into their own unique sound.
In songs like “Jordas ende,” listeners can hear echoes of A Bunny’s Caravan’s emo-post rock blend, the emotive grandeur of Rest of My Life, and the metallic edge of Quiritatio. The band’s music is a journey through the varied landscapes of Norwegian music, from the introspective slowcore of You Could Be A Cop to the lush distortions of earth moon transit.
“Jonategnet” is a testament to the rich tapestry of sounds that have shaped Den elektriske salmebok.
It’s an exploration of genres, a celebration of the Norwegian music scene’s depth and diversity. In the words of the band, “If you’ve enjoyed the musical journey of the bands on our list, you’ll find a piece of each of them in our music.”
Den elektriske salmebok stands as a shining example of how music can transcend boundaries, drawing from a wealth of influences to create something truly unique and captivating.
Here’s a list of eleven gargantuan Norwegian bands that show that Norwegian music can be atmospheric without necessarily being bleak and morbid.
Here are eleven bands that are more like Norwegian summers—warm, lush, and gorgeous… but ever heading to winter.
Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson – I’ve Got a Picture of You Boss
When this band came on the scene nearly twenty years ago, most of us initially refused to believe they were a Norwegian band. Norwegian bands don’t sound like this, do they? And if they do, they certainly don’t sound this good, right? What a happy surprise! Like a melding of City of Caterpillar and Explosions in the Sky, with a little sprinkling of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and even Boys Life, listening to their first record was going on an adventure that we’ll never forget. The band would later expand into a seven-piece—Norway’s finest emo orchestra—and put out a 2×CD as well as a 10″. Their last release, as of now, was over a decade ago, and we’re all eagerly awaiting for their triumphant return.
The Spectacle – By God
Speaking of Godspeed You! Black Emperor—have you ever wondered what they would sound like if they were a crust punk band? Well, The Spectacle are probably the answer you’ve been looking for. Few bands have been this important to the Norwegian DIY scene. Today they are remembered as much for their politics as for their music, and for putting on a tonne of shows, and even festivals. In addition to championing DIY, anarchism, and animal rights, they are—fondly—remembered for refusing to appear on Norway’s most famous television music programme. As important as they were to the punk scene, their musical legacy is even more triumphant. Heavy and hard, but hopeful and passionate, like the May ’68 riots, The Spectacle were giants—as well as heralds of later neo-crust bands like Fall of Efrafa and Light Bearer.
La Casa Fantom – Stillheten Skriker
Norway’s finest drum’n’bass band has been playing their unique take on experimental crust for over twenty years now. Infamously living in an ecological collective of tree huts, this is another legendary band from the Norwegian DIY scene, and their importance in the Norwegian punk scene cannot be overstated. For some of us, the importance of La Casa Fantom’s lyrics being in Norwegian cannot be overstated either. They gave us an at the time a much needed example: If the French could play hardcore in French, why shouldn’t we do it in Norwegian? Musically, La Casa Fantom are one of Norway’s finest and most admired hardcore bands. How do they sound this huge, with just a drum kit, a bass guitar, and some screaming?
Dominic – The March
If you were at a punk show in the mid-late ’00s, chances are you’d meet someone who’d go into a long rant about how Dominic are the best band in the country. To be fair, they were right. Dominic’s status as the best band was simply the universal consensus back then. Listening to this track, which was usually the last song in their set list, it’s easy to understand why. Like most of their catalogue, it is as at once ferocious and grandiose—a massive sound, and intense energy. And listen to those drums!
Fighterpilot – This Is Not Kaizers Orchestra
Unlike Dominic, nobody ever talked about Fighterpilot at punk shows. But they definitely should have. A one-off release (though one can always dream…), their album, Between Homes and Travels, was hauntingly atmospheric, and playfully experimental. Though driven primarily by twinkling guitars and some of the best sounding drum ever recorded, the creaky chairs and ambient vacuum cleaners—amongst other things—smears out the Fighterpilot soundscape to the length of the Norwegian coastal line. Featuring the drummer of the previously-mentioned Youth Pics, and the guitarist/vocalist of the soon-to-be-mentioned Rest of my Life, Fighterpilot reside somewhere between shoegazing, post-rock, and ambient.
A Bunny’s Caravan – Inclosed by Skies
Another one-off, legend has it this band never even rehearsed. Two songwriters simply headed to the studio with three songs each, and, with the some help from their friends, they recorded one of the finest albums to ever come out of Norway. “Inclosed by Skies” is particularly beautiful, and with its memorable guitar lines over reassuring keys, it stands out as perhaps the best track in this style of emo mixed with post rock. The Caravan manages to somehow effortlessly mix a soothing mellowness with an intense catharsis, a trick no doubt borrowed from the early output of bands like Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab for Cutie. At the same time, the epic scale of these songs echo bands like The Appleseed Cast and Explosions in the Sky. It also really helps that the drummer from Dominic played on the record!
Rest of My Life – They Shut Down the Dental Services
With their masterful guitar interplay, gorgeous vocals, the lushness and warmth of Rest of My Life make them one of the most beautiful bands in the Norwegian emo canon. There’s an intimate sensitivity to their music, which is just intensified by the grandeur of their sound. Though the breadth and depth of their sound rivals Youth Pics and the Caravan, their music is typically more direct, more like a Christie Front Drive… with a cellist. The same cellist as Youth Pics, actually. Where emo is more generally a brooding genre, Rest of My Life were an absolutely soaring band. Each of their three albums were very different, but uniquely incredible—the EP too!
Quiritatio – Gunslinger
Quiritatio are one of the many bands that followed in the footsteps of The Spectacle, both politically and musically. Their particular style of hardcore/emo has a metallic edge, like Refused, but with a clear emphasis on mood and atmosphere, with quiet sighs of relief giving way to whirlwinds of guitars and screams. Their second album, As the Dead March, Birds Will Fall from Heaven, has a decidedly apocalyptic atmosphere, but unlike the stark coldness of black metal, there is that punk undercurrent of the hope of, if not salvation, then at least of fighting back!
You Could Be A Cop – Does Everybody Dream?
Once again featuring the drummer of Youth Pics, this time teaming up with his brother, with a bunch of their friends helping out here and there on various tracks, YCBAC usually lean towards the more emo slowcore bands like Seam, or the more slowcore emo bands like Mineral. On “Does Everybody Dream?”, however, they fully channel their inner Sigur Rós, and reassure us all that this especially Norwegian blend of emo and post rock isn’t going away anytime soon!
earth moon transit – New Toronto
Speaking of slowcore, earth moon transit are a phenomenal band of Norwegian Duster-acolytes and pedal-worshippers. On record they sound like a nostalgic and cosy bedroom pop band, live they sound like a larger-than-life shoegazing mammoth, influenced by both krautrock and slowcore. earth moon transit master both quiet moments of intimacy, as well as exploding into loud bursts of lush distortion and cymbal crashes—often within the space of the same song!
Den elektriske salmebok – Jordas ende
Finally, we have Den elektriske salmebok, an experimental punk band influenced by atmospheric music of any genre, from MONO to Sufjan Stevens, from Bluetile Lounge to The Innocence Mission, and of course by every preceding band on this list. So if you liked the previous bands on the list, you’ll find something of each of them in Den Elektriske Salmebok.