Sometimes an album slips through the cracks (or literally falls behind a cupboard), but when it turns up again I write a little review anyway, even though it has been around for a while at that point. So that's the embarrassing story behind this belated MoE review (i reckon that rather than having the same name as the bartender in the Simpsons, the band's name is pronounced 'moo-eh' - hence the capital 'E') for Oslo Janus III, that was released by Conrad Sound last year. In addition to their regular studio releases the Norwegian three piece drops an 'Oslo Janus' album every once in a while to give an impression of their imposing improvisation dynamics.
First time I heard to MoE was in 2011 when their debut 'It Pictures' had just been released. I loved the raw energy, intense groove and staccato hammering, which to me was somewhat reminiscent of early Noxagt, though it easily escapes that comparison due to the enticing vocals of
Guro Skumsnes Moe. Where Follow up '3' saw them morph into a behemoth so bass heavy it could squash a hippo in a second - a trend that was continued on 'Examination of the Eye of a Horse' - the Oslo Januses (Jani?) show a somewhat different side of the band, namely that of instrumental improvisations. Five tracks ranging from often complex and (seemingly) discombobulated noise rock and intensive drone, to doomy low end sludge smack the listener across the room for an hour and then some. 'Mr. Tokyo' is a highly skilful exercise in off-beat structuring that finally gets itself together somewhere half way through and has you nodding along to the steady earthy growl which turns into the boggy trench that is 'Gavrilo Princip', through which one is pleasantly dragged at a snail's pace for about 11 odd minutes. 'ShMchk' gives us a noisy guitar tapestry that serves as a background for a slow and crude battle between bass and drums. The crispy drone of 'Omertà'
could easily have been the intro to a Darkthrone album, with its feedback wails and occult percussion in the distance.
Then there's more monolithic dronery on Fukushima that builds up to a screaming culmination point, quite literally. While the track fades out we hear Guro loosing her marbles which is a nice finishing stroke to the whole thing. The bonus track, that drops in after 15 minutes of trying to recover your senses in silence, is a great interpretation of Black Sabbath's Black Sabbath; slow and brooding... so completely in pace with the rest of the album. All of this was recorded in Tokyo in 2015, released a year later and reviewed another year after that by yours sincerely. Amazing stuff though. (PJN) - Vital Weekly
01. MR. Tokyo 6:30
02. Gavrilo Princip 11:19
03. Shōchū 3:09
04. Omertà 3:56
05. Fukushima 38:03