Layers of precise, dynamic and sophisticated hard rock
Having just reviewed the new album from Norway’s fantastic hard rock outfit El Caco, I was pretty stoked to have the chance to ponder over the latest release from another highly regarded Norwegian hard rock band – Ribozyme. Like El Caco, before a move to Indie Recordings, Ribozyme remained one of Norway’s hidden treasures.
Hailing from Bergen on the south-western coast of Norway, Ribozyme is Kjartan Ericsson (vocals, guitar), Bård Bøge (bass, backing vocals) and Cato Olaisen (drums). The band consisted of two guitarists until 2004 when Jan Ove Knutsen decided to leave the band in order to concentrate on his family. Since their formation in 1998, the band has released two EPs and five full length studio albums including this year’s Presenting the Problem which was released on the 10th of February.
There is a lot more to the Norwegians than straight forward hard rock – they produce a catchy and energised sound that incorporates an often industrial rhythm, hard-hitting riffs and then there are Ericsson’s vocals which range from clean and melodic to aggressive and gritty. A superb job was done by Ribozyme and Rune Langhelle with the production on Presenting the Problem which captures the band’s great balance between precision and melodic, rhythmic power.
Ribozyme display an interesting crossover of sounds between the likes of Tool, Feeder and harder industrial influences of the likes of Ministry. And while this does suggest a great deal of noise, Ribozyme possess a very melodic chore that instils an infectious sense of calm in their music. Presenting the Problem is an album to spend some downtime with - grab a good pair of earphones, close your eyes and just take in songs like ‘Over the Galvanised’, ‘Caskets’ and ‘The Bricks Went Flying’. The best examples of the energy and rhythm mentioned earlier can be heard on the opening title track ‘Presenting the Problem’ with its Jimmy Eat World meets Feeder riffs and Olaisen’s calculated drumming. ‘Lending a Fever’ ushers in a little aggression which then blends into the brief but explosive ‘Leverage’ while ‘Scale of Values’ may very well prove to be a favourite at live performances.
Presenting the Problem traverses all the pitfalls of hard rock and delivers a dynamic and captivating mix of songs. Norway is quickly becoming my standard-bearer for top drawer modern hard rock.
(Indie Recordings/Riot! Entertainment Australia)