By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
The 70s was the birthyear for heavy metal, during which time the occult somewhat took center stage with it. It was weird, eerie, and exciting all at the same time. Groups like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin waved the occult flag proudly during their heyday. I do not like the message, but it was mainly the music and the flow of the words that enticed me. One band from Norway has aimed to bring back dark rock to its glory days. I am talking about White Void. Started by frontman Lars Nedland of Borknagar, White Void looks to take listeners on a trippy ride where eclectic hard rock communes with electronica, doom, and new wave. Signed with Nuclear Blast, they make their official appearance to the music world with their debut, Anti. Prepare to have your mind expanded.
We start with “Do. Not. Sleep.” Right off the bat, the combination on New Wave and stoner rock is stellar. Nedland’s voice surrounds the atmosphere perfectly as it captures the listener’s undivided attention. What really stood out for me was the main riff and blues infused solo that guitarist Elvind Marum pulled off. “There Is No Freedom but the End” is so hard to ignore. Bassist Vegard Kumman and drummer Tobias Solbakk play this doom-soaked beat that sounds very uplifting, psychedelic, and danceable at the same time. It kind of reminds me of Ghost’s “Dance Macabre.” Marum is outstanding with his outlandish playing that complements Nedland’s hypnotic voice. “Where You Go, You’ll Bring Nothing” is very sludgy and progressive. I love how the sludge melody contrasts with the electronica harmonies. Kumman brings a funky groove that goes hand-and-hand with Marum’s soulful riffs. White Void fills the empty void with this tune. “The Shovel and the Cross” throws in the spooky elements of doom and psychedelia into their cauldron. Mix it together, and you have a Ghost inspired song that feels like a great victory was achieved.
“This Apocalypse is For You” is where White Void adds some punk flavor into the assembly. It is their shortest song off the record, but it still packs a big wallop. I enjoyed the speedy hooks that Marum was churning out as his blues playing as it was impassioned. Next up is “All Chains Rust, All Chains Die.” Solbakk is a speed demon with his swift playing, while Marum goes into a frenzy with his insane melodic solo. Nedland stimulates the mind with is mid-tempo singing that puts me in a trance. The way his voice echoes in the song takes me to a special place that feels euphoric. “The Fucking Violence of Love” is unique in a sense that White Void continues to cross the boundaries of spookiness and beauty. For eight minutes, the mind explores different sounds that are being brought together. From progressive to doom, sludge, pop, and avant-garde, the musicianship comes together tightly as it grows heavier and bolder to the very end. I love the chant Nedland throws in there by asking “What can you tell.” I say this is the best song. “The Air was Thick with Smoke” concludes the wild journey we embarked on. The electronica is layered in this song very heavily thanks to the spacey keyboards Nedland plays. This epic tune has an 80s arena rock feel to it. Filled with grand guitar licks and jovial bass beats, this is a glorious number to bring the album to a close.
As far as debuts go, Anti was an epic beginning chapter to hopefully a longer tale. White Void has brought the occult to the promise land. The concept behind Anti is Albert Camus’ Absurdism, which is the belief that human beings exist in a purposeless, chaotic universe. While listening, I believe this album had a purpose: live in the moment and cope or overcome with the chaos. I hope more album will come along in the future as the void is filled with occult excitement for the moment. To the White Void, I salute you. Horns up!!!
Do. Not. Sleep
There Is No Freedom But the End
Where You Go, You’ll Bring Nothing
The Shovel and the Cross
This Apocalypse Is For You
All Chains Rust, All Men Die
The F*cking Violence of Love
The Air Was Thick With Smoke
Follow White Void on their social media: