Vederkast /w Itchincide @ Bastard Bar, Tromsø

by Emīls Vilcāns

a1662973352_10Hailing from Tromsø, Norway, the band Vederkast embodies Northern Norway’s mythological meaning of the word. With dark and doom’ish notions on their debut Northern Gothic, these Nordmen keep pushing themselves further in hopes of reaching new horizons. Having a nice chat with the band and seeing them perform for the second time in the basement of Bastard Bar, accompanied by Tromsø’s trash metal act Itchincide, the eve of Norway’s Constitutional day is set off with heavy riffs and some spilled beers.

Drowning in clear memories of my first encounter with Vederkast performing at last years Bukta Open-Air festival for a packed stage, the way to Bastard Bar in Tromsø center gave me the notion of seeing a long lost friend. Upon arriving at the bar some 40 minutes later than the listed time I walked in on a darkened basement with around 10 people. Ordering myself one of the local breweries beers I sat down next to a man with an exceptional beard. After engaging in a conversation I find out that this man is in fact Sindre Bakland, also known as the guitarist for the progressive/doom metal band Vederkast. As the band had come together at the end of 2014, it holds together 4 guys from different musical backgrounds. Being involved with a stoner-rock band called Taliban Airways, Sindre uncovers that in the previous act he was the bass guitarist. As for the influences of Vederkast and himself he mentions Tool, Kyuss and The Mars Volta. Yet, as they themselves put it, the biggest influence they have is “playing together and challenging each other and ourselves to do something new”. As for the process of creating their music, they don’t have one exceptional person to come up with a concept. Most of the times it all starts with 2 guitar riffs and with joined efforts they work up everything else around it. With lyrics being the last piece of the puzzle, Paul Aronsen (bass/vocals) is in charge of the field, yet, sharing the credit,  says that Finn Fodstad (guitar/backing vocals) helps with the lyrics, as does the rest of the band. Whilst planning their next European tour and getting ready to record new material during the summer, the guys from Vederkast still work normal day-jobs and finance the needs of the band themselves.

After finally being asked for the ticket money, I noticed an increase of the people in the basement. I soon understand that one corner of the bar is taken over by Itchincide and their groupies or wives. After a fast sound check they start sawing their guitars and without a warning I had stepped into a heavy thrash metal show. Being an active band for 8 years, Itchincide isn’t the band that strikes familiarity within the Tromsø community. However, these guys actually did an USA tour back in 2013. Despite their image of being totally bad-ass, the home feeling of playing in the Bastard really let them loosen up. With an occasional smile from the members, these guys go forth through their entire performance throwing out mindlessly heavy riffs and, for the first time listener, indistinguishable screamo vocals. Amongst the things that were missing from their performance was an adequate response from the audience. No moshing, no hardcore headbanging. And I do admit, starting something like that in a bar with most of the audience holding a glass of beer would be just plain dangerous. The last thing that seemed a bit damp were the solos. It was either the basement acoustics that ate away the sound or just the lack of them in general. The ones I was able to make out weren’t particularly jaw dropping or out-standing either, so there’s still plenty of room to grow.  All in all, Itchincide is the perfect band to go see if you want to unleash the craziness within you. As their music itself insists, their gigs should take the form of an energy exchange so that the stuff they put out doesn’t go to waste. Go forth and moshpit!

After a quick set-up swap between the bands, things return as they were in the beginning. Both bands lurking around, sipping beers and just taking it easy. But the time had finally come, Vederkast stepped onto the narrow stage and opened with the eerie intro of Skirmish that grew onto the prog typed continous riff and onto the bass solo. From the very beginning it’s easy to notice the fusion between progressive and doom metal in their works. With some exceptions, their music normally follows the formula of fast-slow-fast-heavy, yet, the band is able to spice things up with surprisingly fitting change of time signatures. My personal favorite being from the ballad typed song My Burden. Although the band acknowledges that the change of time signatures sometimes leave the fans puzzled, learning to do so on the instruments was no easy task as well. Especially the drums. In an interview with Prog-Sphere, Magnus Tornensis (drums) admits that the trickiest part of the whole Vederkast process for him was making the time signatures flow naturally. Despite the challenging start, Magnus is an absolute beast on-stage, and whilst some might think he smiles too much for the music the band plays, his top-notch performance allows him to.  I myself admit that the transition of the flow makes the headbanging process a tad trickier, but on the second thought, it’s an unpredictable detail that gives the songs of Vederkast a more technical output, thus familiarizing with progressive metal. Getting closer to the encore of the show we stumble upon the song Malison in which Finn Fodstad (guitar/backing vocals) imprints his trademark hardcore metal sound on the main riff. The jumpy guitar just makes you lose yourself and go apeshit, and wish that the very last part of the song lasted much longer.

The lyrics by Vederkast are one of the elements that attach the band to the term doom metal. Evolving around “struggling souls, loss, and different ways of coping with dark thoughts and occurrences”, the band masterfully creates a soul-stirring atmosphere, which they usually clear out with the might of their riffs, except for the song Meliora, where the atmosphere is built throughout the song and it just fades out on a dramatic note. As Magnus unfolded for prog-sphere, some of the stories are real and some are not. A tad haunting, yet perfectly fitting, the clean throaty vocals by Paul Aronsen, who is also responsible for the heavy bass guitar, are the perfect final touch for making the bands sound complete and deliver their tales in a strong manner. The dimmest part was the disappearance of Paul’s voice during the quieter parts of Forget Me Not, which can be written off to the acoustics of the basement. Nevertheless, these guys keep up an amazingly energetic and completely enjoyed appearance, especially on their Cornelis Vreeswijk cover of Cecilia Lind. Having 2 rhythm guitarists, or should I say, riff guitarists, they still manage to put together melodically thriving pieces. The absence of the solo guitar is noticeable only at some parts where you could imagine someone showing off their fast finger movements, but other than that, the co-op between Sindre and Finn is remarkably refreshing, as well as leaves room for possible solo ideas for future material.

After the almost 9 minute long song Remain, which is also the closer on the album Northern Gothic, Paul thanked the audience and the band started taking away their gear. At this point, knowing that the band actually played their whole collection of songs, I didn’t really feel the need for more. During the 1 hour long show of 10 songs in total, the band presented itself marvelously. Being a great example of the reason why people should support their local music scene (and yes, please do that!), with loads of potential and passion within, Vederkast continue fighting to bring their music to everyone everywhere. Be sure to follow these guys on all the social media stuff, for new material and new tour dates!