ONDT BLOD Norwegian punks fighting for representation in their homeland
WE CAN’T HELP
but marvel at how Norway continues to produce such an amazingly eclectic, excellent group of bands, some 25-plus years since birthing the black metal scene. These days, rather than a horde of corpsepainted warriors, we’ve got a seemingly endless supply of brilliant punk rock, from Fight The Fight to Blood Command to Okkultokrati to Bokassa… and now there’s Ondt Blod.
“We owe a lot to the early 00s’ punk rock scene,” singer Aslak tells us. “Bands like JW Ewing were a very important post-hardcore thing. That helped create the underground mentality of bands supporting each other. Also, the government give grants to music in schools. So we’re lucky in the respect that we can tour from a young age. It means there are scenes everywhere.”
“MY PEOPLE HAVE
NO WONDER, THEN,
that Ondt Blod are able to flourish. They’re about to release their brilliant Natur album to a world that is probably not quite ready for their mix of pummelling classic hardcore, soaring pop hooks and heavily politicised rhetoric, all delivered searingly in their native tongue.
“I don’t think we started as a political band,” Aslak tells us when asked about Ondt Blod’s provocative lyrical narrative. “We just wanted to play. My sensibility was always political, but you get more confident as a songwriter and find a way to deliver your message in a way that doesn’t sound stupid or corny. So many punk rock bands do that ‘slogan hardcore’, where you just shout ‘STRENGTH THROUGH UNITY!’ and that’s the song.”
You won’t catch Ondt Blod relying on such standard tropes, and given Aslak’s personal heritage, you can guarantee the five-piece will be offering some takes you won’t hear anywhere else in the metal or hardcore scenes in 2018.
“Our first album was politically minded,” he explains. “Not so much in the lyrics but in the attitude. But we are Northerners, and we’ve been ignored in this country, so that album was about our industrial decline. This record dips into my Sami roots. I wanted to showcase the oppression of my people.”
The Sami, Scandinavia’s aboriginal population, have been fighting for fair representation and equal rights across Northern Europe for generations, and although Aslak feels it’s important to him to vent his beliefs on the subject, he does wonder just how much impact it has on the world at large – especially given how little of the mainstream music world’s focus is currently on important issues.
“I look at the world of something like hip hop,” he says, “and so much of it is just, like, ‘I take cocaine!’ And what does that add to the world? But then you get an act like Run The Jewels, who engage in interesting political debate. I hope we see some change from that, because I’m starting to see in a lot of genres that people are taking a stand.”
Eclectic, thought-provoking, passionate and filled with white-hot, furious heavy music, they’ve come from one of the world’s most prolific scenes, but Ondt Blod are not just another Norwegian punk rock band.
NATUR IS OUT NOW
Think you know Norwegian metal? Think again