Dunbarrow are for me one of the most mind-blowing up-and-coming Doom Metal bands from Haugesund which is in the west coast of Norway and they have been performing for eight years now. They have just released their sole self-titled debut album on the record label, Heksekunst Productions. This is proto Occult Doom Psych Rock at it’s best with thunderous riffs and sinister grooves.
The band considers Espen Andersen on Lead Vocals, Kenneth Lonning who did the graphic design of the album cover on Guitar, Eirik Overgard on Guitar and Sondre Berge who switched from playing the drum kit to the Bass Guitar. The studio musician who plays the drums on the album is Kim Henry King. It is very much bringing back to the roots of the golden-era of the 1970s and an homage to the swirling Vertigo label as I can imagine this album being released on the same label in that time period.
Dunbarrow know their Doom and Psychedelic roots very well to a T. And with six highlights on the album, you know when to crank this mo-fo out! My Little Darling begins with a psychedelic drum intro and heading into the time signatures from 3/4 waltz and into 4/4. I just love that little homage if you will to the dark lord of Progressive Rock of Van Der Graaf Generator’s Killer sax riff on the Guitar that both Kenneth and Eirik do in the styles of David Jackson.
Featuring some freak-out guitar work, Espen’s vocals are a real treat as he nails it down in the styles of an early Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Hammill, David Bowie’s Pre-Ziggy Stardust period and Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter. The Crows Ain’t Far Behind starts with a dooming bass intro that is essence of Sabbath’s Warning. You can imagine the engines are revving up with some bluesy crunchy guitar work as the riffs become like a killing machine ready to start on their prey.
Elsewhere, Guillotine shows hints of Black Mountain’s In The Future-era while Try and Fail deals with once you have succeeded and failing miserably, there is no turning back and there is a price to be paid and being locked away with no escape. As the lyrics explain, “You try and fail and you try again/you expect the outcome will change/you’re forever cold under the warm sun/as you chase the shadows of pain.”
The heavier tones on the opening track is hits you right in the stomach as Berge’s Bass channels the styles of Geezer Butler before delving into a tidal wave of a rumbling roar motorcycle ending of a late ‘60s garage-rock style twist. The waltz-punchy yet bluesy sludge groove of You Knew I Was a Snake which is in 3/4 shows both the doubling guitars working on the melodic side from Kenneth and Eirik as the intense section comes in.
The last lyrical structure of the composition deals with betrayal and then soon both karma and payback comes down on you and bites you on the ass 100%. The doubling guitars are a cross between Tony Iommi and Mick Ronson and both Kenneth and Eirik work well as a team. And its evidence on Lucifer’s Child is fantastic. Its enthralling structure of Blood Ceremony meets Frijid Pink meets The Man Who Sold the World-era of David Bowie meets Master of Reality-era of Black Sabbath.
This is my fifth time listening to Dunbarrow’s debut album and I have to say I was not just on the edge of my seat, but really jaw-dropped of what I’ve heard. It’s not just Doom Metal, but elements of the Psychedelic boom, bits of the ‘70s Glam movement, and the Garage Rock genre also. I can’t wait to hear more of their music for many years to come to see where they will come up with next.