s/t LP

01. Every Further Mark
02. Spit The Taste & Vile
03. Sleeper
04. Drugs, Terror, Death
05. Nazgul Youth
06. Tremulous White
07. The Blissful Extinction
08. Jersey Devil
09. Hermit

Jotnarr (or more accurately JØTNARR, named after a type of monster from the film “The Troll Hunter”) is a trio hailing from the fairly un-grim wastes of Colchester in the east of England. Chris, Simon and Ollie have all been plugging away in various bands such as Meadows, Mother Sky and Three Thrones (which are all still going concerns) before getting together in 2013 to jam what could be considered to be black metal, with its scathing, evil atmosphere, fused to a belligerently hardcore punk backbone, topped off with elements of screamo. Heavy, devastating and yet melodic. Lyrics are concerned with human relationships with the natural world, environmental degradation, loss, grief and wolves. Their interests include King Diamond, Black Sabbath, and playing shows. For fans of early Ulver, His Hero Is Gone and Wolves In The Throne Room.

Release date 10/05/19.

Limited to 290 LPs on black vinyl.

Co-released with:
React With Protest
Rip Roaring Shit STorm
Vetala Productions

After three demo / EP releases of frankly stunning black, doom, hardcore amalgamation, there is a tangible excitement pressing play on Jøtnarr's debut full length. Our review of their last release, the Burn and Bury EP, excitedly proclaimed Jøtnarr as top of the class for these sounds on our island, and subsequent live experiences have only increased that fandom. I'd say this better be good, but I know it will be. Within seconds, there's a warmness of a familiar sound, the thrill of hearing them immediately confirming the hopes you have for the album will be realised. First track Even Further Mark lasts barely two minutes, but has you hooked. Jøtnarr have a unique sound - staccato black metal riffs with almost screamo-end punk, there are many contemporaries (Bosse De Nage being possibly the closest in mindset), but if exposed to a mere snippet of a track you'd know who you're listening to. And as it is so appealing, for such a young band, it is a weapon to wield wild. The hardcore element shines through on the beautiful Sleeper, emotionally wrought in its first half, unnervingly engaging in the second, akin to a rollercoaster transition from Scottish masters Kaddish and the beauty-in-black metal of the sadly dormant Black Monolith. There's similar on pivot track Nazgûl Youth, truly bringing the emo, but there are purer black metal cuts too, early Wode comparisons on Drugs, Terror, Death. They reserve high moments for the end as well. It ends before three minutes are up, but The Blissful Extinction feels epic, drama in the rise and fall of the flow; it is masterful. Jersey Devil is of similar quality. Hermit closes, spine tingling greatness possibly trumping all else. That they retain the strength shown in the opening songs, to the spellbinding final triumvirate, is testament to how good this album is, and how good Jøtnarr truly are. I was gushing in my praise of their last release, and here I am again. It is warranted - this is a near perfect album of British metal and hardcore.

The Quietus
Jøtnarr have just outdone themselves too with this self-titled debut album. The Colchester trio had been doing an admirable job of fusing black metal with crust, sludge and post-hardcore on EPs like 2013’s Divide The Growth And Stone and 2015’s Burn And Bury, but Jøtnarr ups the ante even further. So-called “blackened crust” is all the rage these days of course, but Jøtnarr manage to marry the two styles in a wholly unique way – rather than just pinching a couple of Darkthrone riffs and throwing in some mosh parts, the three-piece have tapped into a really distinctive style that defies easy categorisation, and it’s never sounded more cohesive, powerful and well-realised than it does on Jøtnarr. Opener ‘Ever Further Mark’ is a great example of their sound, combining sheets of grim, icy tremolo with triumphantly sludgy grooves à la early Mastodon and emotive lead guitar in just over two minutes. Elsewhere, muscular D-beat powered tunes like ‘Spit The Taste/Vile’ and raging closer ‘Hermit’ come across like a corpsepaint clad His Hero Is Gone, whilst the angular chords and urgent pulse of ‘Nazgûl Youth’ has a definite hint of Fugazi (albeit with more metal guitar heroics) and songs like ‘Sleeper’ and ‘The Blissful Extinction’ are ripe with infectious yet melancholy melodies too. In just under half an hour, Jøtnarr contains significantly more great ideas than a lot of the other hour-plus black metal opuses released this month, and in this trio’s capable hands, they coalesce into one coherent, staggeringly impressive whole. This one’s essential.

Ghost Cult
Over the course of numerous EP releases and various appearances in the UK’s underground scene, Colchester trio Jøtnarr have begun to garner quite a reputation. Where the blend of black metal and crust punk is, by now, all the rage, in the hands of Jøtnarr it becomes a whole new beast which fully incorporates it all fluidly through sludgy grooves and an intensity that makes it their own. If early EP’s were impressive, however, this full self-titled debut (SuperFi) fully realises and hones their vision. Jøtnarr manage to pack a lot in to their sound and hold an impressive diversity throughout yet also manage to hold down a characteristic sound of their own, and this self-titled effort pulls that off greater than ever before. Album opener ‘Ever Further Mark’ snapshots their definite sound best with its barraging, icey black metal tremolo riffing married with groove and the punky bark of Chris Moore, providing an in your face welcome. Whereas ‘Drugs, Terror, Death’ creates a much more foreboding and dark atmosphere at first before it erupts into a slower but pulverising pace, whilst ‘Nazgul Youth’ provides some almost bluesy, Clutch like guitar work. Elsewhere the likes of ‘Jersey Devil’ up the D-beat ante somewhat, yet it still feels quintessentially the same band and still maintains the desolate, ominous air of its black metal side. Right from an early stage Jøtnarr have tapped into a unique strain of extreme music which brings together almost disparate styles and fuses them into a white-hot intensity which still supplies plentiful groove and creativity throughout, and this debut full length is quite simply an excellent effort, especially as a debut. With such an exciting sound and high levels of execution, Jøtnarr may be one of the UK scenes most hidden but brightest gems.

Metal Trenches
The Pitch: JØTNARR is a post-black trio from the UK inspired by the likes of Ulver, His Hero Is Gone and Wolves In The Throne Room. They recently followed up their 4 song debut EP with this self-titled effort via SuperFi Records. What I Like: Screw the new Deafheaven, this is where it's at. I don't like my music to put me to sleep, and Jotnarr is far too alive to be an offender in that realm. The drumming alone on this album is enough to keep you awake during the lengthiest of midnight finals cramming sessions. They rival Bosse de Nage in pure, kinetic energy. And such a balance of elements on display. Opening song "Ever further mark" kicks you in the teeth while simultaneously providing soaring, uplifting melodies. The entire duration is brimming wtih dynamic ups and downs that traverse black metal, hardcore, rock, and everything in between. "Sleeper" serves as another example of the band's range with its highly aggressive vocals and soothing post-metal interlude. Critiques: While I applaud this album's consistency in terms of providing above average quality from start to finish, there aren't that many moments outside of the opener that really "wow" me. I'd prefer that over having 3 really great tracks amongst a group of duds, but there is definitely room to up the overall quality. The Verdict: While JØTNARR's latest album isn't the most exciting album I've heard this month, it is highly consistent and way stronger than most of the more mainstream post-black music out there. They came hard out of the gate, and continued time and practice should bode well for them if they stay the course.