Noxagt – The Iron Point

Norwegian avant-hardcore. With viola. You couldn't make it up

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Rhode Island’s Load label is currently the market leader for a kind of apoplectic left-field music that replaces post-rock’s pensiveness with a snotty, mosh-friendly zeal. Like their mighty labelmates Lightning Bolt, Norwegian instrumental trio Noxagt specialise in churning bass-and-drum passages that frequently erupt into intense noise offensives. The band’s secret weapon, however, is viola player Nils Erga, whose belligerent sawing makes them occasionally resemble a death-metal Dirty Three. It’s exhilarating stuff, made more remarkable by the way Noxagt combine punk vigour with a blustery Nordic grandeur: a bellowed indigenous folk song (sung by Erga’s grandfather) and a lustrous version of Pearls Before Swine’s “Regions Of May” are both audacious, unexpected successes.

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