Arabrot: Solar Anus
'Solar Anus' is the fifth studio album from Norwegian "noise rock" band Arabrot (who take their name from a rubbish dump near Oslo).
Following on from 2010's 'Revenge' album, which was heralded "as the end of an era and the beginning of something new", Arabrot have moved forward, both musically and lyrically.
The main problem with having a scatological title like 'Solar Anus' s that 'Arabrot' are inviting scatological writers (like myself), to give scatological reviews. Before even hearing one bar, I was tempted to give a 2-word review. Simply, “Complete anus”.
Despite conjuring up images akin to "Lick my love pump" scene from 'This is Spinal Tap', the album's title is actually a reference to the philosophy of George Bataille, and the band's love of mixing highbrow and lowbrow art forms and concepts. It is still hard to take seriously though when you read through the track listing or look at the cover.
Arabrot have certainly picked up the pace with their latest offering, creating heavy thunderous tunes, much like grindcore. Although to some extent this album has a pared down, back to basics approach - most songs consisting of only guitar, drum and synthesizer - the music here sounds dense and layered. This could possibly be due to Steve Albini's mixing (who has previously worked with the Pixies and Nirvana). In fact some songs do sound very reminiscent of Shellac, in particular the title track and 'Valkyrie'.
Even so, it is clear that Arabrot have matured as a band and have made a well-crafted and intelligent album, far more than would probably be expected from a noise rock act.
Lyrically, they draw on themes of alchemy, sorcery, magic, religion and philosophy - but in no way sounds cliched like so many Scandinavian death metal acts do, using similar imagery.
Eight songs is just the right number for Arabrot's style and genre; any more would start to feel "samey"; fewer would seem unfinished.
Standout songs are the title track,along with 'Valkyrie', and the album closer, 'The Wheel is Coming Full Circle'.
In summary then, Arobrot have made a solid, strong album that leaves you wanting more. If only they hadn't decided to call it 'Solar Anus'...