Release date: 10 June 2022 Label: HQ REC
Hailing from Aarhus, Denmark, a new sound has awakened through the stoner fuzz outfit SABOTØR. Starting with demos under a different name, the trio has worked together–and even completed some tours–since 2017. Their methods are simple: all lyrics are in Danish, and every song requires their signature tri-octave fuzz bass. Other than that, their creativity is able to run wild, letting them bend genres and make whatever sounds they want.
SABOTØR are also rather proud of their totally DIY approach, creating all artwork, videos, and even their own vinyl themselves. Through their music, SABOTØR spread a message of anti-fascism, anti-capitalism, and the obligatory right to be oneself. Though they began work on their first official release in 2020, it is only now that they have successfully completed it. Five years in the making, here comes SABOTØR‘s breakout album, SKYGGEKÆMPER.
The album squeals out the opening notes to ROBOT before vocalist Kappel lets the listener know “I am not a fucking robot”. The beats here between the bass and drums are solid, heavy, funky, and fun as hell. It is next to impossible to not find some part to jam out to and get lost in the fuzz. After this, RO PÅ, DANMARK is a wild turn that is just as fun and funky, but totally different. Kappel’s voice is borderline dorky but it works so well when mixed with Wellsandt’s bass work and Fjeldvig’s lightning-fast drumbeats. Both of these tracks were prior singles and for plenty good reason. Hearing these back to back is enough to make any listener curious for more.
Slowing down the pace, KING DIAMOND is short and sweet, the rhythm more of a suggestion than anything. While hard to follow, it is more than easy enough to listen to, sizzling steam almost heard coming from the warm fuzz and powerful drums. The homages to King Diamond‘s Abigail, especially near the end, should also not be lost on any perceptive listener. ARBEJDE GØR FRI is easier to keep a handle of than the previous but still has its own surprises. Kappel’s voice soothes you as you try to figure out where this song is going, and ignore where it’s been. Wellsandt’s bass is also deeply reminiscent of the semi-sentient sound present in Edgar Winter‘s Frankenstein or Blue Öyster Cult‘s Godzilla.
OPRØR intends on taking no prisoners with its loud and practically shrieking guitar, matched by a completely fuzzed out bass. This track starts bold and heavy and slowly devolves before picking itself back up halfway again to start it all over again. Kappel’s guttural yelps, Fjeldvig’s cymbal crashes, and Wellsandt’s bass picking up the slack make for a beautiful circle of noise. Slow to start, and even slower to work itself up, 2040-PLANEN is a wandering ballad that sounds like a Danish cover of a Led Zeppelin B-side. It is a truly unique sound, unusual even amongst the rest of this far-out album. The last third of this track is where it starts really moving, bringing it all together and finally crashing down.
Hitting the home stretch is SABBATÅR, which brings back some of the funky fun that earlier tracks displayed. Somewhat empty and with an odd rhythm, this song is subtly filled with sound from the guitar, bass, drums, and more, all refusing to wait their turn. This track is the weakest on the album for how many directions it tries to go, but it is still an interesting ride. EDDERKOPPEMOR starts agonizingly slow, though it tries not to, curious guitar notes whining to make an almost occult stoner sound. Suddenly, the slowness disappears and the whiplash felt going back into the heavy fuzz is palpable. Kappel’s voice seeks purchase along the notes Wellsandt can’t hit, complementary as much as they are in juxtaposition. This track is a story in at least three parts, each connected with that occult theme that screams to be released into something that can’t be tamed.
The final track on the album is the eponymous SKYGGEKÆMPER, and with an eight-minute run time, it’s the longest one. Listeners should now be used to the manifold directions SABOTØR goes when writing, but this one is still a surprise. The slow start sounds nothing like anything else on the album, and thoughts about this fly out the window when the bass and drums suddenly threaten to murder your eardrums. When comparing this song to the other eight, SKYGGEKÆMPER feels like a culmination of everything else. Bold, impassioned, risky, and full-bodied, this is definitely the highlight of the album and there is no wonder why it secured the right of being the title track. Its slow shrieking death is a real shame because after all that, you still want even more.
A Final Word
If there’s anything that SABOTØR songs all have in common, it’s that they’re all better with the volume turned up. You don’t need to know Danish to know that they’re having fun with it and expect you to join in. SKYGGEKÆMPER is a truly impressive album, filled with unique riffs, interesting rhythms, a filthy bass, hard-hitting drums, and vocals that just work. SABOTØR themselves have stated that their mission is to tear down preconceived notions about music, and every track on this album has hit the mark every time. Fortunately, SABATØR has only just begun, and they have absolutely no intention on stopping any time soon.
- Jakob R. Kappel (he/him) – Vocals, guitar, lap steel
- Kári Birk Wellsandt (he/him) – Tri-octave fuzz bass
- Mads Brander Fjeldvig (he/him) – Drums, backing vocals
- RO PÅ, DANMARK
- KING DIAMOND
- ARBEJDE GØR FRI
Piledriver – Live in Europe – The Rockwall Tour
dEMOTIONAL – Scandinavian Aftermath
The Foreshadowing – Forsaken Songs