Rongeur is a three-man sludge/stoner band from Oslo, Norway established in 2012. The band consists of Ken-Robert (vocals/guitar), Dag Ole (bass/vocals) and Jostein (drums/vocals). Rongeur has released two demos in their short time together,”The Catastrophist”(2013) and, “As the Blind Strive.” Now both demos have been combined and is now available in one album.
Now I’m not going to beat around the bush, I found a majority of this this album hard to listen to. There are two elements that got on my nerves throughout my listening experience. First of all, I’m not a big fan of yelling vocals. It’s especially bad when one guy is yelling and another guy cuts in, and he’s louder than the first guy. The vocals get really annoying on the second track, ‘Traitors.’ Not only do you have the competitive yelling, but throw in some distorted spoken word and some very odd Lord of the Rings goblin-like vocals. The one thing that bothered me more than the vocals was the consistently overworked and overpowering cymbal crashing on every song. I was hoping Rongeur would switch things up in the later songs, but they love their cymbal smashing.
Now, not everything is doom and gloom on this album for me. On tracks ‘Lying Bastard Whore’ and ‘Le Rocher Aux Singes,’ Dag Ole‘s bass and Jostein‘s drums give you a great workout when the vocals are taking a break. The element I enjoyed the most was Ken-Robert‘s guitar riffs, especially when he was taking turns switching styles up. From the raw sludgy riffs on ‘Why Would You’ to the bulky distortion on’It’s a Given,’ it’s all first-rate.
Overall, I appreciated Rongeur‘s gritty energy, but I just couldn’t get past the yell fest and the cymbal overkill.