Fusing elements of black metal, noise rock and grunge with Eurodance and 90s R’n’B is probably about eclectic and random as music gets. But somehow, Norwegian band Deathcrush make it work in a way that is loud, brash and angsty yet beautiful.
Their appeal is furthered by frontwoman Linn Nystadnes telling us “whatever we do, it tends to be dissonant or twisted in some way.” Which is a pretty good ethos for any rock band.
To give you a taste of this randomness, latest track Know What You Want, which was released last month, starts out with cool little synthy noises that give way to heavy repeating guitars then powerful drums. Linn’s distant, echoey vocals “You gotta know what you want” repeat over and over as the instrumentals build in heaviness.
Wild vocals fly around with twinkly synths in the background, then it launches back into the opening vocal repeats. That drops into repeats of “Nobody’s a winner” over crashes of guitar and drum, which feed back into the opening vocals. and the track ends with funky little dance noises. Which is different. Give it a listen below:
The band released debut album Megazone last year, from which opening track Ego epitomises their mystery with the more dancey side to the band. It opens up with dancey vibes, Linn’s echoey vocals take over then repeats of “I don’t get why you get to do that” sees the track build towards big noise rockiness. Check it out in the video below:
That’s contrasted by the huge noise of I Want It That Way which, disappointingly for some, is not a Backstreet Boys cover. It opens up with an almighty noise of static sound and big bassiness that continue over huge booming drums and distant vocals. Creepy high-pitched vocals continue through to a cry of “I want it that way” over drum and bass-like backing, before launching back into the heavy instrumentals that soon explode into a mass of noise. Give it a listen below:
A personal favourite Deathcrush track is the delicious Dumb, which starts off with funky synthy sounds that continue under Linn’s light vocals. Her vocals spark into life with the lines “They’re dangerously dumb, Dangerously dumb, Beware of the dumb, They’re dangerously dumb,” then repeats of “dumb, dumb, dumb.” Give it a listen below:
While the heavier noise rock side of the band comes out on Bedpost, which starts out with super heavy bassy noise then lively drums in a big rocky blast. Give it a listen below:
We had a chat with Linn Nystadnes to find out more about this intriguing band. Read on below…
GR: Who are Deathcrush?
LN: “A love/hate trio from Oslo Norway that tends to convert prejudice people approximately 30 seconds into our live shows?
“Pelle, a bass player playing drums on our latest single – hashtag life goals – also played guitar when we found him, which is perfect for a no rules band. Vidar, my favourite drummer and visual artist long before we met, finally realised we had something to talk about after seeing me play live with an earlier version of the band, and here we are!”
GR: You just released Know What You Want. What should people be expecting from the song? What inspired you to write it?
LN: “We made a no bullshit track, taking it back to the basics and adding voice to it, I didn’t need many words to get our point across. Why dress it up?… said the Norwegian band Deathcrush referencing Mayhem’s Funeral Fog in that exact song!
“Though it’s No Wave’y and easy to sing along to, in a way it’s got a kind of Satanic northern darkness theme of thinking for yourself, a subject it’s hard to avoid these days with all the sheep flocking. There are power in numbers and when most people seem happy to be led without questioning why, happy to believe and not to know, it frightens me.
“People are also so scared of the foreverness of the internet, and the repercussions when voicing their own opinions before seeing where public opinion is going.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
LN: “That’s always a funny one, because we didn’t set out to be a certain type of band and we draw on whatever feels right at the moment, meaning one song can be a mix of Eurodance and Black Metal with a grunge spin, another could be Noise Rock 90s r’n’b etc etc… I know a lot of bands are all like “we’re so special, we’re both country and western”, but people do hear different genres in our music depending on what they come from. One promoter will put us on the bill with Mayhem, another with Trentemøller.
“It’s not straight forward even when it’s just straight forward. A duality is always there. We are dead serious about what we do, but laugh at ourselves all the time. I guess whatever we do, it tends to be dissonant or twisted in some way. Like us. Deathcrush is whatever we are.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
LN: “I get really agitated by reading the news. Or looking for actual news in some of the major news channels. The fact that even when being blasted with opportunities to find out what is really going on in the world, we are subdued by the overload. That we’re not taught to question, but to take sides.
“The western world is very ‘Me Me,’ and still not realising that what is best for us personally is probably to think about what is best for the greater good. Norwegians are increasingly proving the point that money makes you greedy. Since we increased the standard of living by deciding to share the profits from finding oil through state ownership, the country is becoming more and more entitled and rightwing- basically ruining every reason why we’ve been high ranking on the UN’s happiness index, and is bringing back the class system in a way.
“I often feel world issues are the same as in inter-human relationships, problems between friends or lovers, family issues, so my lyrics can often be understood on two levels.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
LN: “I think all music triggers something in me. Even listening to a song I dont like can make me write a new song. There are bands I’ve listened loads to but I’m never too true to one artist, though I can get a hang up on a song, an album, or even just an element of song. Like Mayhem’s Deathcrush record. Or Tirzah’s Affection.
“When I first discovered No Wave, or the fact that somebody else was making the music that already made sense in my head, was maybe my biggest musical AHA moment. Pardon the Norway pun…”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020? New music, new gigs, recording etc…?
LN: “We have compiled our earlier singles that were previously released as a magazine/flexi disc, an empty CD cover, digitally only and so on, onto a vinyl called The Singles Series via Apollon Records, due on Friday (13 March).
“At the moment we are making songs for a new album coming out this fall and we are doing a European Tour starting around Easter. More dates will be added shortly, and also later in the year! And, Yes! We are coming back to the UK, France, Belgium etc…”
Deathcrush’s European dates are as follows:
13 March – Kafè Hærverk, Oslo, Norway
20 March – Rockeklubben i Risør, Norway
21 March – Vaktbua, Kristiansand, Norway
26 March – Sabotage, MIL, Lisbon, Portugal
3 April – Odal Rockeklubb, Odal, Norway
5 April – Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark
6 April – Urban Spree, Berlin, Germany
7 April – Kafè Glocksee, Hannover, Germany
30 April – Kampen Bistro, Oslo, Norway
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
LN: “Give us a listen, and definitely come check us out live – we are not run-of-the-mill and we always get a reaction out of people, so at least you are guaranteed a break from the blasé world we live in.”