HAGGIS, now that was a surprise. These here fellow Norwegian hate-mongers have been in my ears before, then in the form of “Stormtroopers Of Hate”. Just like last time, we are witnessing a mixture of Punk, Rock, and Metal, coupled with utterly non political correct lyrics. Since last, Sturla The Bastard has left the ranks and Ottar The Fat Animal has stepped up to take responsibility. On the last album he did back-up vocals and guitar, so taking over the vocal duties was probably easy as pie. He still plays guitar by the way.
There’s a whole lot of energy put into this album and it also sounds pretty terrific. For being a band that prides themselves in playing Punk they certainly sport high production values. Then again, the album which is considered to be the forefather of Punk, “Never Mind The Bollocks”, is miles from having a rough production, too. I like it, but have to say I was a bit shocked by its clean sound.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the vocals are done by Ottar The Fat Animal. How does he fare? Good, I would say. He is as good as Sturla but I would say that the latter had a more distinctive character. The Animal has a more standard Punk vocal, while Sturla was more out there. Anyway, the band hasn’t lost any of its appeal due to the shift.
Most of the music is played in an up-tempo and stressed mode, it’s like everyone want to go just a little bit faster. They are tight like a hamster though, so expect no sloppy race. It’s just that these guys seldom take a break; they are what we called notoriously pissed. In the midst of all this anger and social dysfunction they have found time to show us that they are more than a mere pack of hoodlums. It is, as implied before, executed flawlessly. They’ve also managed to cram in some stuff not usually acquainted with Punk; trumpets for instance, as found in “Flatfoot”, works like a charm, HAGGIS just proved it. (I just learned that this is ska-influences, a friend told me.) I would also like to highlight the effort put into the bass-lines; this album would be a much lesser one without them. You’re able to hear them all the time, and in some instances they even have the lead role. Muchos gracia, me likes bass-guitar.
Most of you (especially, perhaps, our US readers) might react negatively when reading a title such as “Working Like A Nigger”; is this a racist band you might wonder? I think it would be wrong to label them as such, I would rather name it general hatred. In addition, I firmly believe that most of the lyrics are written with the purpose of provoking people into thinking. “Send The Poor To War” is good evidence for that point of view. It’s already done by the US (and pretty sure some other countries as well), so please send a hate-mail to Bush (and his comrades) instead of turning your anger at this band; at least spend some on all of them. In addition they are singing about white-thrash, which should prove that none are spared. In my book this is misanthropy and deliberately bad taste, not racism.
HAGGIS has established themselves as my favourite Punk band with the release of “The Impeccable Glory Of Eternal War”, it has some bland and boring moments but they are castigated into submission by the good stuff. I’m in doubt of which albums I like the most of their two full-lengths but the best songs on their recent is better than anything found on their previous.
I would go for both.
(Even though the record is a rather fast one, there should be enough variation to satisfy most. I proofread the review, and noticed that I forgot to mention it. I didn't find an apt way of implenting it into the text, so here we are)
(Online March 9, 2007)