03 Sep 2021 - Knut
Hard Rock/Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal | Indie Recordings | Release date: 03 Sep 2021
This duo, Pil & Blue, translated as ‘Arrow & Bow’, hails from Norway’s high North Finnmark. As many duos have shown, a duo can also have a loud, heavy, energetic, raw and passionate soundscape. The band´s songs are melodic and the vocals clear as the Northern sky. They formed during a jam session in 2013 and released an acclaimed debut in July 2014, Push Start Button (level 1) and followed up in 2016 with the equally acclaimed Forget The Past, Let’s Worry About the Future. Their previous releases leaned towards the indie rock genre, but on this release, there is a new drummer in place, hailing from the Norwegian metal scene and that means a heavier sound for your eardrums.
”Rube Goldberg Machines” begins the album with heavy musical blurs at the start - it is like the band musically comments on the album cover. The guitar is repeatedly riffing a heavy chord before the strong and powerful drums kick in to drive the music towards the crystal clear and passionate vocals which is an instrument of its own. Gøran Johansen plays the drums like a lead behind Peter Carlsen´s heavy-riffing baritone guitar, and sometimes taking over, drives the energetic music forward. The pace of the song is fast, just restrained in small parts by the guitar riffing. After a while the song loosens up with a bright melodic chorus. The song´s tempo slows down before returning to the fast space with fast drumming, heavy riffs and clear vocals. It ends by fading slowly out with quiet, almost whispered vocals accompanied by clear synths and guitar.
The first song shows the band´s impressive range and how they always have a very catchy melody in hand for the vocals to handle. The second song starts playful as the title suggests, ”Everyone´s Just a Kid”. After the start, the vocals rise up backed by the drums. The singing and the guitar riffs hit the melody and the chorus is launched: “Here they come to save the day / All the little people, all the little people.”. This really shows Carlsen´s skills as a guitar player; in between the heavy riffing and the chugging there is place for the melody as it is driven forward by Johansen´s impressively fast and fierce handling of the drums and cymbals.
With two next songs, ”True Disaster” and ”Select 2 Players” the band not only makes the full use of their instruments, but it also shows how skilled they are at writing songs that catch your attention and make you want to headbang and wriggle some body parts at the same time. Also, these songs let Carlsen use his versatile and passionate voice to the full. No matter how hard he sings, he never breaks. He has loaned his voice to both Anathema and Long Distance Calling, as well as releasing acclaimed singer-songwriter albums in the Indie-Pop genre. With Pil & Bue he has found a platform to use his whole range as both a guitar player and singer.
The passion of the next song, ”The Resonator”, yanks your attention towards it and keeps it there because of the way it is performed both musically and how the vocal is soaring over the music. This is a song you will not easily forget. It is versatile as it shifts from the hardest riffs and fierce drumming to the most somber reflective soundscapes when he sings: ”a change in perspective / a new point of view / just like a force of nature / a force of nature / the impossible was you.”
The album closes with the title song, ”The World is a Rabbit Hole”, a song that starts in an almost contemplating mode with vocals over an echoing guitar. While the other songs clock in around five minutes, this one generously lasts almost nine minutes. That allows the band to vary the song with quiet reflective parts and heavy doom-laden parts, at the same time bordering more on thrash metal than the other songs. The vocals are almost frustrated and furious in some parts, almost breaking before the music stops and it ends in the same contemplating mode as the start, asking the question ”Where do we go from here?” and the song fades away.
Within the Norwegian scene, Pil & Bue, are known for their live performances, where the audience is captured by the hard-hitting, melodic, hardworking and energetic shows. And now, with this release, the band has lifted their music and performances up a notch. With a three-record deal from Indie Recordings, this first release is extremely promising for what lies ahead for the band and for us as listeners.