Ok, so you've got two legendary members of the Norwegian black metal elite involved with this project, former Mayhem front man Maniac (currently of Skitliv and Sehnsucht) and Czral (aka Carl-Michael Eide) from Ved Buens Ende, Virus, Dodhiemsgard and Aura Noir, so naturally you'd expect to find at least some semblance of the icy metallic blackness that these guys are known for. But no, there's none of that to be found on Det Skjedde Noe Nar Du Var I Belgia, the first album from a long-running studio project that actually dates all the way back to the mid-90's. It's a trio that features the aforementioned black metallers teaming up with British experimental musician Andrew Liles, who is known for his solo work and his involvement with the current lineup of Nurse With Wound. And it's Nurse With Wound that seems to be primary influence on this project, as soon as Det Skjedde... starts, it's pretty obvious that the musicians all share a combined appreciation for the surreal noisescapes of early NWW, which the trio channels into these
eerie nightmare hallucinations of sound and voice. The only thing that betrays the black metal background is the hideous croaking vocals of Maniac that skulk throughout the fourteen tracks of Det Skjedde Noe Nar Du Var I Belgia (which translates to "Something Happened While You Were In Belgium"); otherwise, there's nothing blackened or heavy here, although the band certainly know how to create some seriously creepy and unnerving sounds.
The tracks flow together into a strange collage of aural hallucinations and night terrors, with rambling answering machine messages and shimmering metallic drones, spare dissonant piano notes drifting off into space, tinny Asian melodies played on out of tune instruments way off in the distance, chirpy munchkin voices, haunting female voices looped into mesmeric folk melodies, contrasting with backwards moaning and weird percussive sounds, all sorts of strange effects weaving through creaking electro-acoustic noise sculptures, floating fragments of opera voices, detuned strings, digital crackle and hiss, mewling high-pitched noises, bizarre chipmunk gibberish, demented Casio pop fuckery, passages of eerie chamber doom with abstract piano, howling strings and monstrous growls cloaked in Lustmord-esque darkness, bits of mutant jazziness, all treated with lots of weird production trickery and stereo panning , and fronted by Maniac's demonic, blackened, slightly processed rasp.
"Piker, Våpen Og Gitarer (Generalen Kommer Som en Reddende Engel)" is the album's only moment of heaviness, or actual rock for that matter, with the musicians lurching into a pounding garage punk jam doused in scorching wah-soaked soloing and demented vocals that shriek and moan, sorta Stooges-like but with the treble cranked into the red, the whole sound intense and harsh, with a single grinding riff played over and over, like a bunch of black metallers cranking out some super white-hot hell-bent garage rock, which I suppose is exactly what this is.
Not at all what I was expecting at first, but a fascinating album of experimental creepout that should certainly appeal to fans of Nurse With Wound.