Tech Black/Death Thursday Part II: Drottnar

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A few months back our good friend Jack was forced to take a break from giving you losers your weekly lessons in sweep-picking and blast beats. Comrade Dean filled in admirably with a journey into the discography of the venerable Deathspell Omega. This week I’m here to continue what he started with a look at Norway’s Drottnar.

But first, the week in tech death, courtesy of Mssr. Bauer himself:

Now, onto Drottnar.

Drottnar first formed in 1996 as a death metal band called Vitality. We’re not going to talk about that. On A White Realm and Spiritual Battle, they played Viking black metal band. We’re not going to talk about that either.

For me, Drottnar’s real discography begins with 2003’s Anamorphis EP. After the intro track “Morphosis,” the quintet spend the next eighteen minutes showing off their new style. From the first note of “The Individual Complex,” it’s clear Drottnar have abandoned their past brand of simplistic Christian Viking metal (oof), charging forward with a sound all their own. Dissonant, distorted guitars reminiscent of Abigor ring out over a spastic rhythm section straight out of Calculating Infinity-era Dillinger Escape Plan. The bizarre, Mayhem-esque song structures were kept grounded by the massive rhythm section of Glenn-David Lind and Bjarne Pecer Lind. Step aside, Imperial Triumphant; you were bested twelve years ago.

But Drottnar weren’t about to allow some pathetic metal blogger to categorize and forget them. 2006’s Welterwerk made sure of that. The start-stop riffs of Anamorphis are choppier and tighter than before, and Sven-Erik Lind screams with a newfound venom and conviction. The biggest change between Anamorphis and Welterwerk is one almost impossible to describe: the atmosphere. Aside from the vastly more sophisticated songwriting and much clearer production, Welterwerk is characterized by its deep, nigh-impenetrable walls of layered guitars and vocals and more progressive song structures. Were Drottnar to have continued on this path there is no doubt in my mind they would experience a new level of renown in the underground alongside dissonant metal titans like Deathspell Omega, Gorguts or Pyrrhon.

Unfortunately, it was not to last. Stratum, released in 2012, was hardly a bad album, but its simplified riffs and songwriting were, frankly, a step down. After a six year wait, it simply didn’t hold a candle to Welterwerk. Perhaps it was this musical step backward, or their ghetto-ization as “a Christian band,” much like their countrymen Extol, or even their visual presentation that prevented Drottnar from reaching the acclaim they were due on the backs of both a stellar EP and a pair of solid and near-perfect albums.

It was around the release of Welterwerk that Drottnar first adopted a neo-Soviet/DDR aesthetic, costuming themselves in militaristic uniforms when performing live and utilizing megaphones, sirens and vintage radio communiqués in their music to create a wartime atmosphere. Nowhere is this more apparent than the video for Stratum‘s opening track, “We March.” In all honesty, I find this kind of thing unbearably cheesy, but fans of Kommandant may find something to love.

And that is Drottnar’s discography thus far: a solid EP and album and one near-flawless album of math-y black-ish death-ish metal. The band has teased new material in a video on their Facebook page, but when it will be released is anyone’s guess. Other than that, the band has been silent, with the only activity on their official site (still Stratum-era, obviously) the announcement of a new lyric video for “Cul-de-sac” over a year ago.

On that note, I leave you with “Ad Hoc Revolt,” the opening track from the masterful Welterwerk. I can only hope that whatever the band does next manages to stand next to this album as the work of art it is (and doesn’t take another three years to come out).

  • VVayne Brady

    I found out about these guys some time ago while explore viking/black metal bands. Excellent choice, sir.

  • Edward/Breegrodamus

    Christian “Modesty” Molenaar is my hero, the redux

    • VVayne Brady

      The tighter you hold him, the harder he will push.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus

        If the bear don’t want to stay, I don’t want to keep him.

        • VVayne Brady

          T-rex doesn’t want to be fed. T-rex wants to hunt.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I’m super stoked about Pyrrhon hooking up with Handshake, Inc as you were probably well aware. They have promised their “fastest, scabbiest material to date”. Look to the skies, Dubya.

          • Lacertilian

            IT’S YOU!!
            @do_you_think_he_saurus:disqus

        • Rubber Balls And Liquor
          • CyberneticOrganism

            ha ha ha ha wtf

          • Scrimm

            I wonder why it looks like smoke is coming out of the bears ass right when it cuts to it flying through the air.

          • Rubber Balls And Liquor

            Salmon farts?

          • I am SO using this later.

      • Rubber Balls And Liquor

        And he farts when you poke his tummy.

  • Scrimm

    Listened to these guys for a while. Good stuff.

  • *pushes nerd glasses up nose*
    I’ve listened to these guys already.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
  • VVayne Brady

    Great write-up as always, Herr Molenaar. On an entirely unrelated note, I just learned how to tie a double windsor knot.

    • Scrimm

      Never learned how to tie a tie.

      • VVayne Brady

        I’ve always been a quick single-windsor kind of guy, but I’ve decided to step my game up today.

        • Scrimm

          Buddy tied mine for me in basic training and I just left the damn thing tied for three years. Haven’t worn one since.

        • why are you doing something important related to your career or something?

          • VVayne Brady

            Maybe

        • Guacamole Jim

          Double windsor is the only way to go. I’m a bigger guy, so the thicker knot looks better. Also, get on dat crease.

      • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

        I haven’t either.

        • Rubber Balls And Liquor

          Same. I’ve always gone for clip ons.

      • I’m left-handed and found a good youtube how to video on it. Unfortunately I forgot how already and need to watch it again.

        • VVayne Brady

          I could tie a single windsor with my eyes closed, but the double windsor was trickier. Had to follow a tutorial.

          • My mom works for a doctor so I always gave the ties to her for to him to tie them professionally. Got about 40 ties sitting on a hanger.

          • Scrimm

            I have several ready as well in case I need them.

        • Scrimm

          I am also left handed. Ambidextrous really but the left is definitely dominant. You know what sucks doing left handed? Throwing grenades. Srs.

          • The world hates us southpaws, everything is designed for righties.

          • Scrimm

            It is. I wanted to learn guitar left handed when I started but the higher price and lower availability killed that fast and I just learned right handed.

          • Me too, I regret being cheap because I would’ve been a better player if I had learned lefty.

          • Stanley

            When I has home visiting the folks, I had to use my mother’s left handed scissors. It’s just plain wrong. Now I know what you lefties have to put up with.

          • VVayne Brady

            Stop feeding the lefties, Stanley.

          • Scrimm

            The world hates us….

          • Video game controllers are the ultimate disgrace, buttons should be on the left for southpaws. I have adapted but still.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I’m right handed, but if I had a video game controller that wasn’t designed for me that would be an issue for sure.

          • VVayne Brady

            Do you remember the gigantic original XBox controllers? I actually liked them.

          • Scrimm

            Yep I still have one.

          • dreamcast controllers >>>>>>>>>>

          • Man. I loved the Dreamcast. Really. But the controller was the BIGGEST piece of shit ever produced. If you looked at them funny they’d break.

          • The controllers are the #1 reason I don’t go near XBox. PS controllers I can manage.

          • Lacertilian

            I surprised about the serious lack of people mentioning the Leftorium here, even @James_Jimmy_Mcnulty:disqus

          • VVayne Brady

            My wife is left-handed.

          • Scrimm

            Left handed people>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          • VVayne Brady

            I’m still convinced the thing you people say about scissors is totally BS.

          • Scrimm

            What is that. Using right handed scissors hurts.

          • VVayne Brady

            I refuse to believe that scissors can’t be used by both types 😉

          • Scrimm

            Oh you can use them, but it seriously doesn’t feel very good. I can do most things with my right hand as well, but there are certain things I can’t, like using scissors. or holding a fork.

          • Stanley

            Lots of nice scissors have the handles molded for an ergonomic fit. It’s very uncomfortable to use a scissors that does not fit your thumb, especially if you’ve got a lot of snipping to do. 🙂

            *goes back to listening to metal.

          • No, these are legit issues.

            #LeftHandedPeopleProblems

      • more beer

        Me either I don’t even own a suit.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus

      Double windsor, is that a wider knot? Nice dude.

    • Stanley

      I’m the double windsor ninja. Used to have to wear a tie in high school and so after 7 years of practice I can do it with my eyes shut. Only problem is that it makes your tie short.

      • VVayne Brady

        I noticed that looking in the mirror earlier. I’ll be wearing my suit jacket though, so that won’t be an issue

        • Stanley

          I like the shape of the double, I just tie it very tight so that the knot is smaller and the tie longer. I don’t like them sloppy and loose.

          *once again, goes back to listening to metal.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus

        I believe the tip of your tie should touch the top of your belt buckle, perfect.

        • VVayne Brady

          It should, yes. That’s a little harder to pull off with a double windsor.

          • Stanley

            If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed…..

    • Tyreeling In The Years
      • Edward/Breegrodamus

        April Tyree!

        • Tyreeling In The Years

          Yeah Brah.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Plus Game of Thrones, Netflix’s Daredevil

          • Tyreeling In The Years

            Oh shit! Some good shit coming back here. I’m 2 episodes behind in Better Call Saul.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            The last BCS was pretty flame. I’m watching s3 of House of Cards with my girlfriend now too, like six episodes in. Bomb so far.

          • Tyreeling In The Years

            Damn, I don’t have Netflix, but I did see the past 2 seasons of HOC. Orphan Black comes back in April too. Love that series.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Is this the third season or only the second? I saw the first season of that with my ex two exes back. I enjoyed it!

          • Tyreeling In The Years

            Third.

          • Guacamole Jim

            Dude I am SO PUMPED for Daredevil!!

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Me too Glock Jim. Me too. Dude from Boardwalk Empire starring.

    • Stockhausen

      Proud of you.

  • Scrimm

    Also Stratum grew on me, But I agree with you about the whole military image. They should just drop it, or at least tone it way down.

    • I dig Stratum but it feels like a big step down from Welterwerk. As far as their image, I think the elements they bring into their music are fine but the uniforms are pretty silly, especially in that music video.

      • Scrimm

        Exactly. I think I saw a post a couple weeks ago that said they were arranging a new set of material, and another that hinted something for this year.

        • Yep! I linked a video of them playing some new material at the end of the post. Unfortunately you can only really hear the drums, but as of January they’re officially planning something for this year.

          • Scrimm

            I’m fucking stupid. Read the whole article but totally missed that video link somehow.

  • Rubber Balls And Liquor

    Lol, I thought that was Laibach when I first saw the pic.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus

      I thought they were Nazis, shows what I know about Russian military uniforms.

      • You’re not too wrong (this time), they’re like a combination of USSR and DDR uniforms, but they ain’t Nazis.

        • Edward/Breegrodamus

          I think the thing is, with the abundance of sketchy Nazi, white power, national socialist, or whatever bands, that even appearing somewhat like Nazis could lead certain fans of heavy metal into thinking they are in face Nazis even if people that look further into them know they are not.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            That was my concern with the Kommandant interview; I didn’t want anyone in the comments thinking they had anything to do with that racist NSBM shit (which they don’t). Thankfully it wasn’t an issue.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            As you are aware, I dug the interview (and the band because of that interview) but before I had seen the comments and read the interview fully I had a moment of uh, what’s up with these uniforms?

          • Scrimm

            This is very true.

          • Rubber Balls And Liquor

            Same with alot of deathfolk artists (Death In June and Current 93 come to mind).

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I’m not familiar with those particular acts, but I have heard of some national socialist folk acts. I didn’t even know that was a thing until very recently.

          • Rubber Balls And Liquor

            Wouldn’t be surprised, actually. Deathfolk’s always skated that line, so it was inevitable that some assholes would simply go over that line.

      • Rubber Balls And Liquor

        Laibach you mean? Laibach’s from Slovenia, not Russia. Close but still quite different.

        • Edward/Breegrodamus

          No, the band in their uniforms in this featured image.

          • Rubber Balls And Liquor

            Oopsy!

  • Tyreeling In The Years
  • Mother Shabubu III

    That promo shot reminds me of Dead Snow. Always said it would make a cool band pose.

    • Rubber Balls And Liquor

      Awesome and unusual film!

  • CT-12

    This band is fucking incredible Christian, I’ve already started sharing with my friends. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • This is pretty fucking sweet man. Good job!