Noorvik - Hamartia

16 May 2022 - Thorsten

Post-Rock, Jazz, Post-Metal | Tonzonen | Release date: 22 Apr 2022 | Favorite song: The Feast

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Some bands have a tendency to write overly complex songs, to create concept albums with too large background stories and in the process to forget that the music must be as great as the overarching theme behind the single songs. Noorvik and its new line-up has written an album about Tantalos, a Greek mythological king and his downfall. Sounds like one of these bad examples, right? Well, it’s quite the opposite! Let’s have a look at Hamartia!

Tantalos is the origin of a German word, Tantalusqualen, which means nothing less than unbearable pain, inescapable and in some way also self-inflicted. That is also a good description of the story of Tantalos, who wanted to provoke the gods by serving him something very special during a feast which he gave for them. He served them his own son, whom he had killed himself before – an act that not only provokes the gods but arouses their anger in an indefinite way so that they imprison Tantalos in ”Tartarus”, a place like a singular cell with water up to his knees and food above his head. But whenever he tries to drink, the water retreats, and whenever he wants to eat, the food moves more upwards – so that in the end he can reach neither. Tantalos is also said to be the origin of the ”Atreides” family, whose most famous member is surely Agamemnon, whose marriage with Helena became the starting point of the Trojan War.

Too much mythology? Understandably so, but that is the background and concept behind Noorvik’s new album, which was released on Tonzonen a few weeks ago. The eight tracks, spanning 68 minutes, are surely among the best thing one can hear this year in the field of post-rock, because Noorvik are able to combine a lot of jazzy, shifty drumming with perfectly balanced prog-rock and post-rock guitar lines. When adding a bit of crunch and grit to their songs, these become little odysseys themselves; two songs surpass the 9-minute-mark (one is even very close to 10 minutes) and another two exceed twelve minutes (one being close to 16 minutes). Each track has a one-word Greek title, describing the story of ”Tantalos”.

The track of the same name opens the album and is nothing but pure jazz-meets-post-rock grandezza, the way that the drums are highlighted and on-spot on here is breathtaking and one should be sure to also give some credit to the way the bass is dancing and prancing around it. The production is on point (as well as on every song on Hamartia) and makes is easy to witness the repetition of the first guitar line in many moments throughout the track. When the crunch sets in after roughly 100 seconds and is just becoming stronger after another minute it’s like a perfect topping on a perfect ice-cream, simply irresistible.

Nevertheless, it should be clear, that ”Tantalos” isn’t even the best track on this record – that one is surely ”The Feast” whose near 16 minutes should end up as one of the top 5 post-rock tracks of 2022! The simple guitar line opens and the heavy rock drumming follows suit. The way they take away some of the background and let the guitar stand alone is a perfect example of the little twists this song takes. After three minutes, the song becomes much heavier underneath a well-arranged guitar solo over a lot of heavy riffing and full-out blast-mode rhythm section. The shifts and turns of this song are unbelievable. The track seems to start again at roughly halfway through but this time, the guitar gives a different tune, is a little bit more despaired. That’s the moment, when the gods realize what they are being served here! One of the best track I heard so fr this year, because of the different tonalities! Imagine Tool and Isis working together on a project - and it’s pretty close to such a collaboration soundwise and songwriting-wise.

With a hit like ”The Feast”, such a great record in general and with your help, this moment should be the moment when Noorvik steps out of the shadows and onto the ranks of the world’s most improved post-rock band. They definitely show how to create a mood supporting the concept and not let the concept dictate the songs. Everything works and flows together. That’s how you do such complex topics in instrumental post-rock!