Malossi first grabbed my attention in a Viral Propaganda PR email blast. The subject line was simple, but it was more than enough to get me excited: “Malossi – FFO Clutch, Five Horse Johnson, Truckfighters, etc…”
For fans of Clutch, Five Horse Johnson, and Truckfighters?
Sure, I could see Clutch and Five Horse Johnson going together (Five Horse Johnson’s Eric Oblander even played harmonica on “Electric Worry”), but the addition of a fuzzed-out band like Truckfighters was intriguing.
I had to listen.
True enough, Malossi does channel the Bluesy Hard Rock of bands like Clutch and Five Horse Johnson while simultaneously cranking up the fuzz for those Truckfighter-inspired moments. The result is a complex blend of Retro Rock, Stoner Rock, and beautiful harmonicas.
As a result, their latest album, Blanke Barter, offers some of the best fuzzy Stoner music coming out of Norway right now.
The Norwegian four-piece is:
- Roy Møllerud – Vocals/Guitar
- Tommy Hylden – Guitar
- Pål Salvesen – Bass
- Øyvind Minsaas – Drums
Blanke Barter was mixed by Daniel Bergstrand at Fredrik Thordendal at 33 and it was mastered by Lawrence Mackrory at Obey Mastering. Hypnotist Design provided the cover artwork and layout.
Blanke Barter also features a ton of guest artists. Those artists include:
- Richard Gjems – Harmonica on “Far Hass Knut” and “Drømmer På Boks”
- Bjørn Einar Hanstveit – Percussion on all songs except “Tomt Prat”
- Rune Flobakk – Organ on “Kje Med Are,” “Vante Sko,” and “Skuld”
- Kristian Plassgård – Guitar solo on “Kløpp Dreieventiln”
- Egil Stemkens – Double bass on “Drømmer På Boks”
- Børre Mølstad – Tuba on “Tusen Mål Jord”
Blanke Barter Review
Release Date: August 13, 2021
Record Label: Rob Mules Records
Track One: Far Hass Knut
“Far Hass Knut” kicks off with a surprising collection of vocals, then rips into the bass and harmonica. By the first chorus, Malossi establishes Blanke Barter as an album that’s going to be fun, packed from end to end with headbanging-worthy riffs.
Track Two: Kje Med Are
Relying on a dramatic, mysterious guitar lick straight from the desert, “Kje Med Are” eventually demonstrates its powerful vocals and a ripping bassline. Even if you don’t understand Norwegian, Roy Møllerud’s voice is enough to make “Kje Med Are” an emotional song.
Track Three: Kløpp Dreieventiln
“Kløpp Dreieventiln” begins with a raucous guitar riff that bucks like a rodeo. After the blistering first half, “Kløpp Dreieventiln” settles into a second section that sounds a surprising amount like Candlebox or Pearl Jam.
Track Four: Kaffekjæft
“Kaffekjæft” is simply fun. Relying on a fuzzy kickoff and a rattling bass, Kaffekjæft crescendos with a crystal clear guitar solo that leads into an incredible Fuzz Rock build, eventually taking us to the track’s incredible conclusion.
Track Five: Tusen Mål Jord
Written with a sense of mystery woven throughout, “Tusen Mål Jord” eventually settles into a tense, deliberate riff with a bit of a surprise at the end. For a few moments, “Tusen Mål Jord” sounds like it was inspired by the Truckfighters, but those moments are fleeting. Be sure to stick around for the saxophone solo!
Track Six: Vante Sko
An absolute rocker, “Vante Sko” is a ton of fun, and its most dramatic points are accented by the occasional organ. At times, “Vante Sko” comes across like a blend of Truckfighters and Royal Blood, and that should make it appealing to quite a wide audience.
Track Seven: Tomt Prat
“Tomt Prat” opens on a waterfall of chords and vocals, but its verses rely mostly on drums, bass, and voice. If Malossi is at all inspired by Desert Rock, then “Tomt Prat” is drifting in from the mountain ridge on the horizon.
Track Eight: Flatnævan
One of the quickest tracks on the album, “Flatnævan” features a blistering guitar riff that propels the song forward. While it moves at Punk Rock speed, “Flatnævan” isn’t quite dynamic enough to have a significant hook or emotional appeal—but it’s fast enough that it’s over as soon as it starts.
Track Nine: Skuld
Dramatic and haunting, “Skuld” relies on its heavy bass to plod forward. Unlike much of Blanke Barter, “Skuld” waves between depression and aggression. While the second half of the song benefits from being dynamic, the first half struggles to find movement (much like “Flatnævan”).
Track Ten: Drømmer På Boks
A fun concluding track, “Drømmer På Boks” is another Bluesy song with a great harmonica section and a powerful guitar performance.
Final Score: 8.5/10
Top Tracks: “Far Hass Knut,” “Kje Med Are,” “Kløpp Dreieventiln,” and “Vante Sko”
Pros: A fun and (mostly) carefree album, Blanke Barter comes with a dash of swagger and some truly exciting riffs. This is an album for fans of Clutch, Five Horse Johnson, and Truckfighters, and you’ll even pick up elements of Royal Blood and old Pearl Jam along the way. The addition of Richard Gjems on harmonica pulls the Blues elements into the forefront, and his expertise drives the album forward.
Cons: Blanke Barter is interesting and diverse in its approach, but it occasionally lacks a cohesive musical thread in its delivery, and it rarely embraces its influences strong enough to really make them shine. So, while there are certainly elements of Truckfighters in certain tracks, Malossi never leans into the Progressive side of Truckfighters, which means we never hear emotive numbers as beautiful as, say, “Mastodont” or “Manhattan Project.” The same goes for the Blues-infused sections of Blanke Barter. They’re excellent starting points, but Malossi struggles to weave the Blues into the entire album in the same way Clutch does on From Beale Street to Oblivion.