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Norwegian melodic hardcore punks RISE ABOVE share debut album

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Norwegian hardcore punk band RISE ABOVE, known for chaotic live performances and genre-blending music, are releasing their anticipated debut album today. What began with their 2016 EP “Sounds of Liberation”, followed by singles “Gold” and “Up” in 2017, is being pushed to the extreme with the release of Times of Clarity.

After a two-year public silence, RISE ABOVE returns to release their album “Times of Clarity”. Since 2016, they’ve been one of the bigger hardcore punk bands in Norway. Before even having put out any music, the band was booked to play at Øyafestivalen — the largest music festival in the country. The same year as, among others, Kvelertak, Mastodon, and Eagles of Death Metal. “The most positive surprise at Øyafestivalen this year. The passion was literally dripping from everyone in the band.”


External delays, a pandemic, member changes, and one broken drummer arm ultimately culminated in a 14-track apocalyptic colossus. 43 minutes of fine-tuned noise, catchy melodies, intertwined lyrics, and explorative fringes. “Times of Clarity” is a roller coaster of sound from start to finish.

Vocalist Thomas Holler has this to say about their debut: “Times of Clarity is filled to the brim with things we haven’t done before. It has ups, downs, hards, and softs. And I guess that’s what a debut album should be. At least when it’s been 5 years since the last time we released music. Anything else would be boring. The record itself was finished before the Covid-19 pandemic, but it didn’t feel right to release it until we were a 100% certain we could start playing live shows again. In front of an audience. Because that’s what we like doing… This feeling you get after having given it all on stage… It’s incredible. And now, three years in the making, the day is finally here. Very surreal. Very scary. But exactly what we’ve been waiting for.”

About the songwriting and lyrics, he adds: ”Everything is way more personal for me this time around. Whereas before I would kind of hide behind writing about the world as I saw it, in Times of Clarity, all the lyrics are about me and my experiences. Looking inwards instead of outwards, kind of… But not in that in-your-face way, I guess. I really enjoy metaphors. The songs were recorded on and off during a one-year period, where we would travel to Bergen (in west Norway) to lay down the final takes with our producer, Esteban Munoz, at The Tune Park. One of the songs, Savannah, is referencing some made-up drink name, a Hot Springs Colada. And so we thought it would be hilarious if that drink actually existed! We had to get a bartender to make it for us, of course. Or, well, not just any bartender. I reached out to Stian Wehus, silver medalist in the IBA World Cocktail Championship 2019 and Norwegian Bartender of the Year 2017, 2018, and 2019. And he replied! And he envisioned it for us. So now we have our own official signature drink! Crazy. And it’s really good, too!“

Their 4-track debut EP “Sounds of Liberation” from 2016 was very well received, and Norwegian music radio channel P3 put several of their songs into rotation. They were also made “Artist of the week” on P3s Urørt. Their reasoning reads: “A violently passionate, but at the same time meaningful first meeting with a very promising band. An adrenaline rush from start to end.”

The following singles from 2017, “Up” and “Gold”, also garnered positive reviews, but this time also outside of Norway:“RISE ABOVE fly the flag for Norwegian hardcore punk. Gold is an absolute banger. Fast, furious, and we absolutely love it.”

Words like these enabled the band to play at festivals like Slottsfjell, SPOT festival, TUNGHØRT, and Sørveiv in 2017 and 2018. In the middle of all this, work on what eventually became “Times of Clarity” was begun, and the band soon headed back into The Tune Park in Bergen to record it. “It’s refreshing to see a hardcore band this good when the Norwegian hardcore scene has been without young blood for many years.”

Now, almost 3 years in the making, their debut album is finally out where you consume music. RISE ABOVE is Bendik Hildebrand (29, bass), Cato Nystøl (30, drums), Håkon Nygaard (24, guitar), Mathias Øren (27, guitar), and Thomas Holler (28, vocals).

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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