Album Review: HAUST Bodies
While the background and story of Norway’s Haust may be all over the grill of the internet and supportive print publications, they don’t come across like people who’d be forthcoming about anything. As a band, their brand of caustic schizophrenia sounds like it oozes from tiny micro-fractures in the Earth’s crust and emits a fetid, sulphur-enriched haze of your olfactory system’s worst nightmare.
Either that or they're a quartet of non-conformist nerds who long ago dropped out of society, moved en masse into a hilltop mansion in which a family was violently slaughtered three decades ago on a night when a full moon coincided with a shifting of the tides and a Ouija board backflip. It’s the sound that spills out of a series of failed writers meetings in trying to turn the above story into a horror movie; a sound of these Norse anti-warriors composing a dissonant opera that does more justice to the spirit of horrific chaos than any straight-to-video travesty could ever hope.
There are direct and indirect lines of association between Haust and Okkultokrati. Guitarist Pål Bredrup is a member of both bands, the album features guest appearances from vocalist Henning Wisth and Okkultokrati producer Milton Von Krogh, and both bands are members of a snow-dusted posse referring to itself as the “Black Hole Crew.” Emerging from this particular hole was Haust’s previous album, No, an unheralded gem of skittery, blackened punk and noise rock that most sane folk would run in screaming disgust from. It’s also one that sets the table for the uptick in abrasion on Bodies.
From the opening waves of Bredup Greco-Roman wrestling his guitar in “Static Attack,” Haust place their stamp on the world of twisted sonics. If surf rock and Dinosaur Jr. were gangbanged by early Einsturzende Neubauten, Hammerhead, Laibach and the random noise outros preceding secret tracks of 1990s-released CDs, this tune would take center stage. Half of it has a toe-tapping quality that’ll embed itself in your memory (that crazy rippled guitar effect!), the other will employ enough discordant chord work to saw through your brain stem. “Days” is a low-end driven bucket of scuzz rock filth that could be an anthem for the legions of White Zombie fans leaving their post-La Sexorcisto records on railway tracks with the hopes they’ll be severed and sliced like the cover of Unsane’s debut. Until the middle part, though, ‘cuz only the weirdest of the weirdos could dig that crazy psychedelic warble all the way through.
If one were to extrapolate “Static Attack” and “Days,” a pretty sturdy blueprint for the entirety of Bodies would be laid out: consonance, hummability, memorable riffs and parts all gutted and splattered by delightful torture. Some songs are more on the human side of things – throw some fabric softener on “Light” and you have a slinky potential indie-hipster hit, chanting chorus included, and “Peephole Maze” corrals a nightmare-ish take on industrial and shredding leads. On the opposite end of the scale, “Body Melt” screams like the screeching fan belt on your neighbours’ 1979 Pinto, the one he insists on driving around between the hours of 2-4am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays exclusively. Fuck that guy, much like fans of stylized power metal and carefully construed anything will be exclaiming in the general direction of Haust and Bodies.