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By:Larm Black 2020

In late February our capital will host the Norwegian music festival By:Larm for the twelth year. As they’ve done for some years now, there will be alternative arrangement called “Black”, with bands playing punk, hard rock, and metal.

The liveshows will be held at concert arenas all over town between 27-29 February, with the rock and metal artists playing mainly on Krøsset and John Dee, so just a short walk between these two places. We will see a lot of young, up-and-coming artists not only from Norway, but our neighbouring countries, and Brazil and UK. This year there has been a focus on adding bands with female members in the line-up.

By:Larm 2020

This year’s band:

Combos (NO)

Once by:Larm’s demo jury pressed play on Combos’ tunes, the feeling in the room was of an invading swarm of bees. These Trondheim misfits serve listener-directed aggression in the shape of hard-hitting punk anthems. The band shares its charismatic vocalist Axel with the band Company Ink, an outfit offering jangle pop crossed with post punk which pulled the 2018 edition of by:Larm into their pogo.

Despite a rough edge, Combos’ groovy edge are perfectly fit for a dance. Hook-packed riff follow each other in rapid succession, with a new headbang-friendly chorus lurking behind each corner. On top of the guitar inferno is Axel Olsen’s vocals – and whether it’s spoken word, singing or rapping, his rantings of pop culture, apathy and nihilism are front and center.

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Set times:

Friday, February 28
21:30 – 22:00
Blå

Saturday, February 29
23:00 – 23:30
John Dee

Dangerface (NO)

Dangerface carries the rock legacy of western Stavanger further onwards into 2020. Here’s a proper garantist for concussions, tinnitus and headbanging-weary necks. The gang vocals, hooks and riffs run at full speed ahead, while the half-mad vocalist Mike is everywhere at once, dragging the audience along for the Dangerface party.

The band is like a Mario Kart game: a joyous hellride. Since the album release in 2019, their aura of danger has only grown, with by:Larm as the next level.

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Set times:

Saturday, February 29
00:00-00:45
John Dee

Daufødt (NO)

Among Norway’s hardest-hitting rockers of today are the young four-piece Daufødt. This act straight from Norway’s bible belt place their aural assault right at the spot where aggressive punk meets chorus-loving rock ‘n’ roll.

Vocalist Annika’s lyrics hint at an upbringing in the mecca of Norwegian conservative Christianity, Flekkerøy. She offers accusing rants directed at pietist sects as well as anthemic verses celebrating the freedom that lies in not fitting in with the herd.

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Set times:

Thursday, February 27
22:30 – 23:00
Krøsset

Saturday, February 29
22:00 – 22:30
John Dee

Death Throne (NO)

Death Throne pick out the best elements of hardcore and metal, melting it all together into a punch-packing sound. This mix has already created buzz around the Bergen five-piece among fans of the harder spectrum of hardcore, and the name of their debut EP Evasive Gestures is wonderfully ironic considering the mosh pits that the Death Throne song portfolio creates.

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Set times:

Thursday, February 27
20:30 – 21:00
Krøsset

Friday, February 28
21:30 – 22:00
Krøsset

Drittmaskin (NO)

Drittmaskin released the album Sosial Prolaps after five long years in and out of both the studio and the rehearsal space. While one would usually think five years is a long time to spend on an album which in its core is a punk record, but the sound of the band has molded into something more than just punk during the years.

The band’s sound is spiced up with elements of hard rock, death and thrash metal, with the lyrics allegedly picking up where Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell left off.

Drittmaskin live is an audio-visual experience where vocalist Grindadrap commands the audience with the backing of a powerful band machinery. Be prepared!

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Set times:

Thursday, 27 February
20:00 – 20:30
John Dee

Friday, 28 February
23:30 – 00:00
Krøsset

Dwaal (NO)

Dwaal convinced the by:Larm demo jury with their confident cross of old school doom with newer branches on the metal tree like sludge and post-metal. Translated, this means that Dwaal offer the listener a massive, transcendent flurry of sound, storming around the darker end of the spectrum. It’s epic and grandiose, but can also be minimalist and sensitive.

Sometime during the winter of 2019-2020, the debut album of Dwaal will finally surface after years on the club circuit in Oslo’s underground, and by:Larm 2020 is a perfect way to celebrate the album release.

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Set times:

Thursday, 27 February
21:30 – 22:00
Krøsset

Friday, 28 February
20:30 – 21:00
Krøsset

Konvent (DK)

The Danes in Konvent has brought together hard-hitting death metal with heavy doom metal, and the pairing has gotten the Copenhagen band attention from metal fans all over the world. Renowned Napalm Records in Austria signed them to both their label and booking departments, covering worldwide.

At home, Roskilde and Copenhell both have had the pleasure of enjoying the Konvent blast so far, and now the band is solidifying their position abroad as one of the most promising Scandinavian metal bands.

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Set times:

Friday, February 28
23:00 – 23:30
John Dee

Lüt (NO)

LÜT has hammered their way into the consciousness of the Norwegian rock audience ever since their start back in 2014, primarily thanks to a series of commanding appearances at clubs and festivals – think stagediving, majestic gang-vocals and even more majestic riffs.

But Tromsø’s LÜT are also starting to gain recognition beyond the underground rockers. After hitting the Norwegian music scene hard with their debut Pandion, LÜT was nominated for both P3 Gull and Newcomer of the Year at the Norwegian Grammys, before crowning the album with praise from Metallica’s Lars Ulrich at his podcast It’s Electric.

In autumn 2019, the band travelled to Los Angeles to mix their home-recorded album with producer Mike Schuppan (Jimmy Eat World, M83, Paramore), the last in a series of hints that they’re lining up to become the next big rock export from Norway, with by:Larm 2020 to catapult them.

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Set times:

Thursday, 27 February
23:00 – 23:45
John Dee

Navian (NO)

Navian is a brand new name in the Norwegian rock scene, but despite this, they made an impact on the demo jury. Their instrumental trio-approach is characterised by swift shifts in groove and mood as they open-mindedly pick fruits from the trees of prog, metal, impro, even video game soundtracks here and there.

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Set times:

Thursday, 27 February
19:30-20:00
Krøsset

Friday, 28 February
22:30-23:30
Krøsset

Nevrosa (BR)

Brazil’s Nervosa call themselves a “thrash commando unit” and it really doesn’t take you long to confirm that title. On record, absolutely, but once they take to the stage, the name gains a whole new dimension. Elements of old school thrash – with nods to 80s countrymen Sepultura and Sarcófago – is cleverly mixed with a modern, compact sound.

The brutal metal lyrics are truly real when sung-shouted-growled by women from Sao Paulo. As vocalist Fernanda Lira said to Revolver Mag: “I’ve been robbed many times, some of them with a gun in my face”. Thrash and the solidarity of music is used as armour against the hardships of daily life. This gives Nervosa an edge that contributes to making them one of the best thrash metal bands in the world in 2020.

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Set times:

Friday, February 28
22:00-22:30
John Dee

Nyrst (IS)

Nyrst means “northernmost” in Icelandic and the band holds true to their name by delivering a cold and barren soundscape. The lyrics are taken from old horror literature with cosmic undertones, and the band delivers very mystical and haunting live performances. The band has gained respect in the Icelandic metal scene.

The band was formed in 2013, and after three years a demo was released in 2016 receiving much praise for the diverse vocals and the chilling atmosphere. A new album is also in the making for 2020.

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Set times:

Saturday, February 29
20:30-21:30
Krøsset

Oberst (NO)

Like a proper bastard child of hardcore and metal, Oberst offer the listener a multifaceted slab of heaviness: furious riff-o-ramas sliding into slow, doomy dystopian soundscapes which can evoke a fear of the apocalypse in unprepared listeners. This is music for grandiose moods, whether it be anger, fear, the prospect of death or even hope.

Oberst has been a regular figure to be found on Norwegian club venues dedicated to more down-tuned guitar paths, which with time has garnered them attention both at home and abroad. Now, the band is prepared to step out of the underground and into the consciousness of the metal masses.

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Set list:

Thursday, 27 February
21:00-21:30
John Dee

Saturday, 29 February
21:30-22:00
Krøsset

Orm (DK)

The brew that is experimental Scandinavian metal is becoming increasingly potent these days, and at the forefront of this wave you will find Copenhagen-based Orm, signed to Indisciplinarian. For a few years now, they’ve been a well-kept secret reserved for Danish clubs and festivals, but at last the rest of Scandinavia and Europe are starting to pick up with this unique metal mastodon.

The two compositions that make up the new album Ir imbue a more-is-more approach to everything: more dissonance, more melody, more mood, more fearlessness. Orm has been famed as a live force to be reckoned with, something sold-out release gigs and an appearance at Roskilde can testify to, but at last the powerful live expression is masterfully carried over to the album format.

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Set list:

Saturday, 29 February
23:30-00:15
Krøsset

Spurv (NO)

The Oslo-based band Spurv plays instrumental post-rock/metal. After releasing the EP Blader som faller til jorden og blir til nye trær (2012), they got critically acclaimed in the postrock-environment for their debut album Skarntyde (2015). Later followed up by Myra (2018), released in the renowned underground label Fysisk Format.

The second album was met with great enthusiasm from both Norwegian and international media, and got a 10/10 rating in musikknyheter.no and prettyinnoise.de. The album was recorded in collaboration with musicians from Cold Mailman, Kråkesølv, Kollwitz and Serena Maneesh.

They have performed at festivals such as Belgian Dunk!, DBEi Romania, VIVID i Kristiansand, and delivered a solid performance at the Øya Festival in 2019.

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Set list:

Friday, 28 February
00:00-00:30
John Dee

Svalbard (UK)

Hard-hitting! That’s the only way to describe the fearless Bristol act Svalbard. Direct, raw honesty through a distinctive blend of euphoric black metal, post-rock and d-beat, with widening horizons for each passing release.

Lyrically, they have a few targets: sexual harassment, revenge porn and the exploitation of unpaid internships. This makes the lyrics more than just a half-arsed patch on the music – it’s part of making Svalbard a refreshingly conscious take on the metal genre.

With albums out on the London label Holy Roar, the next few years will be at Svalbard’s command.

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Set list:

Friday, 28 February
21:00-21:30
John Dee

The New Death Cult (NO)

The New Death Cult has been dubbed a brilliant cross-over of Queens of the Stone Age, Biffy Clyro and Ghost, and in the tradition of these the Oslo band is creating vital and confident hard rock, tailor-made for the 21st century.

The band consists of the neon-glowing characters Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta – in sum, they sound like a collision in desert rock-ville between heavy riffs, ear-tingling melodies and choruses of cosmic grandeur.

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Set list:

Thursday, 27 February
22:00-22:30
John Dee

The Gift is a Curse (SE)

The Stockholm crew in This Gift Is A Curse started out back in 2008, and have with the years perfected a mix of black metal, hardcore, sludge and similar shades of ugliness, all brought together to an infernal wall of sound. They’re living proof that the mentioned genres still contain fertile soil.

With their 2019 album A Throne of Ash, released by metal connoisseurs Season of Mist, the Swedes have once more proven that they stand among the most interesting Swedish metal bands these days.

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Set list:

Saturday, 28 February
22:30-23:00
Krøsset

Om Jon Skjeseth (499 Artikler)
Proghead from Oslo, who writes mostly about progressive rock/metal, though may write about other rock and metal sub-genres, as well as electronic music, underground hip hop/rap, contemporary music, different kinds of jazz, folk, or anything I find interesting.

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