ÅRABROT: Iconic Norwegian duo reveals infectious new single "You Cast Long Shadows" from the upcoming album "Of Darkness and Light"


Operating out of Djura Missionshus, their home studio in the deconsecrated church in  rural Sweden where they live with their two children, Årabrot is the iconic duo of  vocalist/guitarist Kjetil Nernes and his wife, vocalist/keyboardist Karin Park. 

As Roadburn Festival's Becky Laverty writes: "Kjetil Nernes has been the core and  the constant of Årabrot, and for some time now another heart has beat alongside his in  perfect unison. A partner in life, love and music, Karin Park has contributed to Årabrot  to varying degrees for ten years, and on Of Darkness and Light her presence is both  solidified and amplified."

With its origins going back 20 years now, Årabrot's list of achievements is long:  collaborating with fellow innovators Stephen O'Malley and Lustmord; working with  such producers as Steve Albini and Billy Anderson; winning a Norwegian Grammy. Nernes also has the distinction of being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014 and making a full recovery.

Through all this, the sound has been in a perpetual state of flux. With the early material  traversing the roughest edges of The Birthday Party and Swans, and with  inspiration taken from esoteric sources – "fin-de-siècle decadence, surrealism and even  a pinch of old German philosophy to boot," in Nernes' words – each release has seen more and more risks taken.

The band's friend and collaborator Lustmord has written: "Born of the long dark winters  of Norway, Årabrot was too black for metal and too avant-garde for punk, so it forged its  own path... It is The Velvet Underground if Johnny Cash was a member  and Nico was able to sing. It is Camus, Sartre, Poe and Burroughs, cut-up and  regurgitated in an unholy erotic mass."

As Laverty puts it: "The last two decades have seen Årabrot shapeshift through multiple  iterations; they’ve tried on different shapes and sizes, encompassed different moods and  explored the outer reaches of various genres and yet never sounded less than entirely  themselves."

In recent years, Årabrot's winding path has led toward absolute rock and roll perfection. In 2021, NPR's Lars Gotrich noted that the band was transforming “from AmRep  bulldozer noise-rock into a cathedral-shaking rock-and-roll powerhouse" – and this  transformation is fully realized now on the upcoming new album, Of Darkness and  Light.

Of Darkness and Light bursts with infectious melodies and shines with the massive  production of Alain Johannes, whose work on Mark Lanegan's 2020  album, Straight Songs of Sorrow, won over Nernes, and who, as a musician, has  performed with the likes of PJ Harvey and Them Crooked Vultures. With  Johannes at the helm, Of Darkness and Light was recorded entirely at Djura  Missionshus, a.k.a. The Church of Årabrot – the first album to be recorded entirely in  the church.

Theatrical, bombastic, dancing on the line between the macabre and the comical, Of  Darkness and Light is, among other things, a celebration of the hooks and swagger and  almighty power of rock. The Birthday Party and Swans are still references, yes, but so are Queens of the Stone Age and Ghost. Fittingly, the album’s title references  Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a philosophical text centered on transcending our  own limitations.

Of the new single, "You Cast Long Shadows," Park states: "Kjetil was asked to write a  song for Sebastian Bach’s new album. We weren’t too schooled up on Sebastian Bach  to be honest, but Kjetil thought it would be interesting to write a grungy Crowleyan  occult murder ballad. He spent a few days in the studio and wrote two demos which  were both immediately rejected by Sebastian Bach’s management. One of the demos was  'You Cast Long Shadows.' It’s probably a better fit for Årabrot anyway!’

Most importantly, make a point to see Årabrot live, in the flesh. As Laverty writes:  "Årabrot comes gloriously into their own in a live setting, with Kjetil holding court with  liturgical flamboyance whilst Karin gives herself over to a hypnotic rhythm of their own  making. The pair are most electrifying to witness when performing; their symbiotic  devotion is palpable as they perform in the clothes they were married in. Rest assured, as long as there is breath in their bodies, this pair will be found preaching rock and roll  under the neon-lit Årabrot cross."