Two very different but equally deserving North-Norwegian Hardcore bands took over Driv’s Isbjørn stage on Friday for a show of total unequivocal might.
ONDT BLOD are from Kirkenes but have their base in Tromsø. KOLLWITZ are from Bodø but have their base in Oslo. Somehow, both of these bands have a very different take on Hardcore while being equally great. Being the younger of the two, ONDT BLOD had the task of warming up the audience which ultimately consisted of maybe 60 odd humanoids; an average number for a Metal/Punk concert at the student house’s tiny stage.
Warm it indeed got pretty quickly as the quintet ferociously unleashed song after song taken from their various EPs and singles. The Finnmark-boys have really been working hard to improve their set. While during their earlier concerts they only spewed a handful of harsh-sounding tracks, this concert was instead much longer and more varied; gig after gig, ONDT BLOD seems to only be getting stronger and stronger. Another nice touch was the band’s stage presence: while they previously seemed to have their feet nailed to the floorboards, Friday’s performance was much more dynamic and engaging. Clearly these dudes have taken some cues from a certain Swedish band that played in Tromsø this summer… Lastly, ONDT BLOD were nice enough to showcase a couple of their newly-composed songs, some of which sounded oddly…Metal?! This proved as surprising as delightful and gave off some neat old-school Metalcore vibes of the most intense kind. These youngsters might only have played together for a few years but they are already at the stage where they manage to impress with the vitality of their sound. Truly, ONDT BLOD suffer and live for their music and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Following the masterful gig of the Kirkenes quintet, one could almost be pardoned for forgetting that one had ´just´ heard the evening’s opening band. Now it was time for the Nordlanders of KOLLWITZ to take over the stage and make Driv their’s for one night. Prior to that night, the band hadn’t been seen in Tromsø for quite a few years so expectations were already running quite high even before the band hit the stage.
As amps, keyboards, and various microphones were being turned on, it soon became clear that KOLLWITZ knew what they were doing. First off, the sound was impressively clear and well-mixed and one could easily discern each of the six band members’ musical efforts. This in turn helped create a powerful, enveloping atmosphere that did not leave Driv until way after the end of the show; and what an atmosphere it was! Cherry picking from a various array of styles and genres, KOLLWITZ manages to craft a truly unique sonicscape where gloom and despair take the lion’s share. At times, the sextet definitely sound like the Hardcore band they are supposed to be, showcasing horrid shrieks and messy guitars but more often than not, they turn this formula on its head and morph into a Metalized outfit heavier than virtually any Doom band out there. The last element of the KOLLWITZ formula is the odd mixture of an almost prog technique with eerie melodies that could almost be described as dreamy if they weren’t so sorrowful. Throughout the concert, it was crystal clear that the sextet know exactly what they are doing and owned the stage like kings; but not like the kind of king you see the on 17th of May, but more like those who endlessly wander the pages of the likes of Baudelaire. All in all, KOLLWITZ gave a performance which was equally impressive and oppressive, something that makes you realize how many riches the Norwegian -and North-Norwegian- Hardcore scene has to offer.
Text: Lyonel Perabo