Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, heavy, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, etc. we're here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen, we stray from all the bestial bombast and smoky clamor, wandering on and on until we stumble upon Oslo’s Enge Store.
Considering all the exciting demos we’ve covered this year: how many of them can be said to have brought something truly new to the world of underground metal? While they all, in their own way, crushed, slayed, dominated, razed, splenectomized, lobotomized, cauterized, or just thoroughly fucked us up, Enge Store’s Inn i en uskarp dag is the first demo we've come across this year in which the band is doing something completely unique. Yet this Norwegian trio aren't merely playing music that's different. It's also exceptional.
Meaning “vast meadows,” and named after the place where two of the band’s three members grew up, Enge Store play acoustic, atmospheric and highly evocative . . . music. Even the band’s percussionist/vocalist/producer E. Rustad admits that the question of what to call Enge Store is “difficult . . . to answer.” Rustad says: “[W]e don’t want to label ourselves as a band of a specific genre. Let’s see what tags we put on our bandcamp site, that will give you something at least . . . folk, acoustic, experimental.” Point is: it doesn't matter what we call it. There's only one of it (for now), so let's just call it Enge Store's demo. And they've worked on this demo for “quite some time," according to Rustad. “We . . . recorded bits and pieces here and there, sometimes with quite long stretches of time in between, developing the music, sound and lyrical concept along the way,” Rustad says. “I don’t really remember exactly, but I guess it took at least one and a half year from [when] we recorded the first guitar track until everything was done.” Nothing against bands who can churn out a six song demo in an eight hour recording session—because that rules, too—but it’s so evident that Inn i en uskarp dag was created slowly, and with patience and dedication.
Says Rustad: “I’ve been involved with different bands and projects of a much harsher musical nature for many years now [—you’ll find Rustad also plays for the excellent black metal band Askeregn, among others—], and for the last decade or so the urge to explore acoustic musical landscapes has been growing steadily. When F. D. Svendsen showed me some of the sketches he made on his acoustic guitar I demanded to contribute in developing these sketches, and along the way we also recruited T.E. Espedal, and convinced him to dig up his old violin. I am quite satisfied with how everyone contributed in their own way, shaping the vision of sounds and lyrics along the way into what became Inn i en uskarp dag. Even though it took some time to create this recording I feel that everything fell into place naturally.”
Rustad was also kind enough to provide a peek into all that Norwegian. He explains: “The title «Inn i en uskarp dag» is the final phrase of the last song on the record: «Opp gjennom skyene / Lyset fra en stigende sol / Ut av glemselen / Inn i en uskarp dag». In English it would translate something like the following: «Up through the skies / The light of a rising sun / Out of oblivion / Into a hazy day.» The song presents a rather simple dystopian vision before hinting towards the moment when a great unknown reveals itself, be it as a mystical experience, existential crisis, or as a result of a warlike scenario. As our lyrics deals with landscape, loss and grief, memory and oblivion, we thought it fitting to let the few streams of (an unknown) light reflect on the title of the record. The rest is up to the listener to interpret.”
Inn i en uskarp dag may only be three tracks long, but each song is absolutely mesmerizing and completely unique. Listen to this demo. Listen to it for the ghastly violin weeping over the tremolo-picked acoustic riffs on “Det høstes nå.” Listen to it for the cinematic, martial nature of “Den tapte vei.” Inn i en uskarp dag is like the ghost of a black metal demo. Jam it on foggy morning walks through woods of isolation. Jam it because sometimes you wish Bergtatt stayed chill the whole time. Jam it because it's like a place you know from a dream, but never before in your waking life. Get it on tape while you still can from Gravgaver, or download it from Enge Store’s Bandcamp.
You heard it here first on Demo:listen. Check this space next and every Friday for promising new metal.