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A while back I remember that this album was first being released. Being that it took me a year to find an affordable import of Høstmørke album, I was excited when I found a copy of Engangsgrill that was within my CD budget, so I leapt on that shit like cheetahs on a dead body.
The day came when Engangsgrill finally shipped to my house and I could finally give this album a listen…
The first 3 tracks are by Fenriz’ Red Planet. In general, this half of the album is by far the better half. Being an obvious blend of classic rock and doom metal, this hybrid genre is very interesting and genuinely unique. It’s a bit as though classic rock met the band Gods Tower without the crappy ‘harf harf’ vocals (Fenriz’ Red Planet is indeed a clear-vocals kind of band). These are 3 truly catchy songs that are probably even better than the Isengard project by the same artist. And get this: the percussion for this album includes… a tambourine! It’s not every day you see that in a metal band, and it actually fits the songs quite well.
But Nattefrost’s half was different. These were 5 very odd tracks, but then again it isn’t supposed to be his better work (apparently). I know that. But it was a shame that such a good band like Fenriz’ Red Planet was paired with this. Well, the first 3 songs have strange, shitty skits for intros, and maybe some of the heavier-sounding guitars aren’t so bad once you force yourself into liking them. His fourth track is utter horse shit, a waste of his and my time, my money, and my patience for his half of the album… basically, it’s a skit that probably took him 5 minutes to think up and another 10 to record, mix, and master. His fifth track is slightly better, but probably not as good as his first; but, don’t get me wrong, it’s still all trash and falls way short of the Fenriz’ Red Planet tracks. Overall, the Nattefrost percussion is about as fun as a heart attack.
To conclude, the Nattefrost tracks are what fucked up this otherwise-worthy split. My suggestion is this: purchase the release and burn the Fenriz’ Red Planet tracks onto a mixed CD with a better band than Nattefrost and it will certainly be worth the money. Maybe if you are a true-blue Nattefrost fan who must absolutely whore up anything and everything Nattefrost-related, you might fully appreciate this release; otherwise, you might want to prioritize other releases before spending too much money on this one. Still, it’s an iffy buy, and if (like me) you only have so much room to spare in your CD dresser, you should save your money for a cooler album. If I could rate the bands’ individual performances, Fenriz’ Red Planet gets an 86 and Nattefrost gets about a 7.
Does Fenriz fail at anything? He's done ambient, folk metal, and doom material before, and all have been successful enough distractions from his main band (Darkthrone if you are one of those 3-4 people who don't know). Engangsgrill isn't some bold new project or statement, it's just a fun split from a couple of Norway's finest.
The Red Planet material is fuzzy old school doom with Fenriz rocking out the clean vocals. The theme here is clearly centered in the old space pulp novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Of the three tracks, "Jon Carter, Man on Mars" kicks out the best groove, but "My Ship Sailed Without Me" has a nice melancholic vibe well worth a bong trip. "Temple of the Red Dawn Rising" also evokes a cool melody before the shuffle of its verse rhythms. The material here isn't a far cry from some of the doomier elements of his other projects Isengarde or Valhall. Primal, raw and without a shred of pretention. For something recorded in 1993 it's still pretty charming.
The Nattefrost material continues the path of his hybrid punk-meets-Carpathian Forest. There are five tracks ranging from the messy splatter country punk of "Uskyldighet" to the blues cum black metal snear of "Sin Goddamnit". As with most of his solo recordings (and those of his mainstay) these are good fun, but things get even better when he takes a turn for the darker, the groovy and despiccable "Humiliated and Pissed Upon" with a big Celtic Frost-influenced guitar groove. "Lustmord" is a strange piece with some sludgy guitars, sparse drums and voice samples.
In the end, the split feels like something these gentlemen wanted aired out of their system, and it's successful enough. Just don't go into expecting something of Darkthrone/Carpathian quality and you should come out, unscathed and smiling. I'd also like to state that doom metal based on space pulp is a fantastic idea, I would not mind a full-length from this Fenriz project (we all know there will be more Nattefrost).
One of this year's most under the radar splits is Engangsgrill; half of the album is Nattefrost and the other half is several cuts by the previously under wraps traditional doom project Fenriz's Red Planet. I prefer split releases to be at least somewhat "consolidated" in the pairing of bands. Two very different sounding bands here and it makes for an awkward play through.
I bought this split mostly to check out what Red Planet sounds like. This personal side project by Fenriz has just come to light only recently. It's very much a fun pet project by Darkthrone's drummer so don't expect anything resembling that band but there are some bits that remind of early Isengard ramblings. These three doom tracks are quite enjoyable just as long as your expectations for such aren't held too high. You can tell Fenriz recorded these tracks on a stoner whimsy to take a break from just writing black metal which of course he is much more known for. And as I said, they are of the traditional doom variety in the vein of Pentagram and Witchfinder General.
My Ship Sailed Without Me is the first and best song on the whole split. Warning: you will probably cringe at first once you hear Fenriz's clean singing. I wouldn't be too far off in describing his vocals here in sounding like a drunken lounge singer. The more I listen to this, the more fun it becomes though. There's a long clangy drum roll at the start of the song and then he stamps it with a Tom G.Warrior 'oomph'. Fenriz really knows his doom because the main riff is sludgy and fuzzy plus he gets that lyrical wail down nicely; 'why was I booooorn?' Fucking awesome. There’s a cool melodic breakdown that rocks too. Jon Carter, Man on Mars is obviously a doomish song about the title character from the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories. Fenriz really brought that shabby Gibson SG sound on the riffs because they sound quite classic with all that heaviness going on. He also does funny Prince-like “yow” on it. Temple of the Red Dawn Rising begins with a Celtic Frost like riff. This song is alright but not as good as the first two. The vocals are sung quite out of tune and it picks goes on to sound like more of the old doom tunes. So, Red Planet as heard on here is a nice touch. Most of it sounds pretty improvisational which is interesting.
And then the rest of the songs on Engangsgrill are by Nattefrost. I’ve always thought Carpathian Forest was a rather take it or leave it band. But solo Nattefrost stuff as sounds here and in much of his other solo albums always sounded expendable. Nekronaut does sound more like Carpathian Forest at first with it’s Hellhammer type raw energy but withers away with mostly blathering of power chords. Most of the other songs to follow have a similar structure. Sin Goddamit begins with a jokey Tiny Tim like falsetto over an acoustic guitar chord and then just shoots aimlessly with fast paced blasting metal. Pretty forgettable. The biggest waste of time is the song Lustmord. Most of it is just a sound byte of some FBI profiler espousing about the mind of a serial killer with some random loops of instruments and some ominous choruses playing in the background. I hate songs like this. This is just pure filler. The only Nattefrost track on this split that is somewhat worthwhile is Humiliated and Pissed Upon. It’s slower and does sound like another Carpathian Forest outtake. Roger does a pretty interesting job with the vocals as they are semi-clean. This track alone is not enough to redeem the Nattefrost side of the split however.
I would have liked to hear more of Red Planet on here but unfortunately the Nattefrost songs round out most of it as there are four of the latter’s songs and only three of the former. This not a very good split of Norwegian metal altogether but if you can find it cheap then give it a listen if only for Fenriz’s doom tribute and if you liked any of Nattefrost’s solo records you might check this out too but it’s nothing you haven’t heard before.