Oberst – Paradise
So, lets be completely honest here, not am I only totally out of my musical comfort zone when reviewing Oberst debut album “Paradise” I’m also of the, for Oberst ill suiting opinion, that aggressive vocals seldom mix well with non-aggressive music… With that said and the cards on the table, let’s take a look on these Norwegian lads and their recent contribution to the world of music.
Starting of with the elephant in the room, vocalist Tarjei Kristoffersen has a pretty aggressive vocal approach, with his angry high pitch voice, almost lingering in the range of the screeching often found in Black Metal. Although really aggressive he still stays clear and well articulated and overall does a pretty solid contribution on “Paradise”, an effort that would fit any form of hate filled music like a glove.
The problem is that “Paradise”, when removing the vocals doesn’t reek that mush of hate, rather being comparatively soft music even if Oberst actually is described as Hardcore/Metal in the press-release. Having a relatively modest experience with Hardcore, but extensive knowledge in all kinds of Metal, I’m not inclined to agree with that at all, as the music is lacking the punky, dirty, straight forward “fuck the world”-attitude of Hardcore and definitely being to much Indie- or shoegazer-pop to ever be considered Metal, or even Hard Rock.
So, after all this wining and complaining is the album any good then?
Well, actually I’ll have to say that, despite arguing about the genre belonging, “Paradise” is a quite nice acquaintance! With this type of vocals the guitars got an important job to do, building a solid ground to bring the songs forward and in that, Oberst does make a good job! There seems to be something going on in the songs all of the time and the music surely has no shortage of nice innovative guitar figures and riffs and although not that melodic the odd, almost Voivod-sounding (if anyone crave a metal-reference) riffs works fine to erase any trace of dullness. The varied drums, often relying on a steady back-beat as base, also lifts the songs and gives them a nice kick!
I think that every song stands well on its own, although as an album they maybe tend to sometimes feel a bit similar but with the vast amount of riffs present on the album and the fact that this record has grown a bit on me, every single spin, that might be a transitory problem.
All in all I find “Paradise” to be surprisingly appealing and bearing in mind that this definitely isn’t my usually preferred cup of tea I think that fans of a more indie-pop oriented music may find a real gem in Oberst and their debut album!
Label: Indie Recordings
Date of release: 17/01-20
Playing time: 46:16
Stand out track: Goddess