11 December 2023

Kambodsja – Stranger

[schema type=”review” name=”Kambodsja -Stranger” description=”Label: Mas-Kina Recordings” author=”Juho Karila” pubdate=”2016-09-16″ ]

Kambodsja is a Norwegian quartet founded in 2002. They’re one of those bands, whose style is hard to define. Drawing inspirations from many genres without boundaries, one could bluntly call them as ‘groovy jazz post-punk rock.’ Having released a few albums in 14 years, the band clearly has come to a mature age when they release their latest, carrying a name: Stranger.

The album takes you in a weird journey throughout lands where you’re just a stranger and everything feels surreal since the very beginning, but only in a good way. Many of the tracks play heavily on catchy melodies, which are easy to grasp on while drums and bass plays a seamless unison of technical groove. Complexity and melodic guitar leads introduces us to the album with the, almost completely instrumental, opening track: Guillotine.

Not all of the album is that kind of strangely addicting and mesmerizing prog but more straightforward crunch, as proven to us by the second song, Jaws. While the punk approach, combined with the oldish, unpolished sound of the band, sounds like Kvelertak the less melodic songs don’t compromise about the groove.

Softer side of Stranger gives us clean guitars and slightly more singing, as heard on Sin & Bones but the base idea of groovy mix of variety of genres lies still great and none of the tracks feels like out of place. Overall the album is very energetic and uplifting. Despite of being complex, Kambodsja has found a perfect balance between simplicity and progressive technicalities to succeed in creating an album which will surely please many.

If I had to raise one track above the others, it would be the single song: Name Among Dead that shows us majority of the different sides of the band. It begins with a hypnotic, yet so catchy and energetic guitar lead to weave you in and keeping hooked. Then it progresses to the punk and after that, a real prog-gear kicks in.

It’s not easy to critisize an album this well done, by a band which clearly knows their game. Like you may have guessed, the songs are really complex and the band doesn’t go easy at any point, but the melodies and the groove conveys you an irresistable feeling of etheric psychedelia. It’s a strange journey but if you don’t mind the vague vocal melodies and very obscure time signatures, you should definitely take a look at this record; the most positive surprise of the year 2016 so far.

Baard Bøhlum
Tom Byermoen
Jørgen Thorbjørnsen
Thorbjørn Ottersen


1. Guillotine
2. Jaws
3. Sin And Bones
4. Neumünster
5. Name Among Dead
6. Vomit Chunks
7. Eyes Ahead
8. Stranger
9. Curses