Written by: PP on 27/10/2011 01:16:00

Norway is sizzling at the moment with exciting new bands who all have one trait in common: an experimental and fresh take on their own genre. Oslo's Djerv take alternative rock and approach it from a halfway black metal angle on their self-titled debut album. I say halfway because while hints of black metal are audible on a couple of songs, as a whole the record fits nicely somewhere right in between the aggressive, hardcore-rooted style of Blood Command (and by connection, Refused) and the mood-setting, classy alternative rock by Garbage.

Opener "Madman" opens the album as a Blood Command inspired frantic piece with one foot in hardcore and the other one in alternative rock. The female vocals borrow just enough from riot grrrl and artists like Brody Dalle and Courtney Love to obtain that characteristic rebellious swagger that carries pretty much the whole song. It sets the tone for the rest of the album where Djerv balance their instrumentation between the aforementioned genres and bounce back and forth between metallic tracks and film noir-esque pieces like "Abmuse", where they trade aggressive vocals and edgy instruments for elegance and class. Think "Golden Eye" theme song by Garbage; in many ways Djerv come across as an experimental and a slightly more complex version of said band. It's especially on this track where vocalist Agnete makes her mark known and establishes that it is her that makes the Djerv songs good, not necessarily the instruments supplying her the musical base.

Her fiery attitude and uncompromising singing style are the carrying force for Djerv throughout the album. Instrumentally, the band are interesting but not great, but with the help of Agnete otherwise straight-forward rock songs gain character and a clear identity, something which can't be said of many new bands today. That being said, "Djerv" isn't without its problems. Only a few tracks reach into similar class as Blood Command; many other tracks are merely curiosities due to Agnete's vocals. I'm left 50/50 on whether to award the album half a grade higher for its desire to experiment and think outside of the box, or to stick with my gut feeling that something's missing before Djerv will start causing waves outside of Norway. It's only their debut album, however, so good things are bound to come their way in the future.

Download: Abmuse, Madman
For the fans of: Blood Command, Garbage, Melissa Auf Der Maur, Stolen Babies
Listen: Myspace

Release date 17.06.2011
Indie Recordings

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