Sauropod – Roaring At The Storm – Album Review

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Roaring at The Storm is out January 22, 2016 via Riot Factory.

Norwegian trio, Sauropod (presumably named for the rather large grazing dinosaurs who once roved the world during the Jurassic), strut and stumble in turn through their debut album, Roaring at The Storm. It’s certainly a ballsy, weird union of everything alternative or indie from the American music scene of the 90’s. I am not kidding, within this album you will find notes and reflections of anything from stadium grunge metal (think Alice in Chains), to the nerd-pop precursors of emo (think Weezer, Neutral Milk Hotel). All of this and more with electronic grunts of late-nineties industrial represented as well. It’s a fun ride,  with several standout tracks that very much outshine the, uh, less appealing moments.

The speed and instrumental focus of Roaring At The Storm is what most reveals it to be a certain mish-mash memorial to the alternative sounds of the 90’s. The guitar work is simplistic in its thrust, but gritty to the fullest. Songs such as “(I’ve Been) Bad to Emma” and single, “Headphones” stick close to a punk progression, complete with plentiful feedback scratch and matching vocal acrobatics from Røyeng and Larsen. Tracks such as “Running” stay focused on the guitar to carry through while paring back the fuzz for a much more relaxed, indie sound. My personal favorite, “Fugue”, had moments of guitar and vocal growling (paired, I might add, with some pretty dreamy keys work)which were distinctly sludge-metal in the most pleasant of ways. Except for a minute-long electronic interlude before the track, the who album moves with the guitar leading and vocals taking a strong second place. This approach certainly does much to foster an overall grungy gauze shroud over the whole album.

Eventually, I was immediately struck by how wholly American this whole album seems. Norwegian Sauropod really seems to be flexing in proof of their overarching rock sensibilities. While still clearly a trio, nothing in the instrumentation seems a bit intricate or demure, it’s a testament to how fucking loud and filthy a guitar can be. It’s ostentatious, it’s showy. Roaring at The Storm is a braggart, ripping off their influences with the reverence of a commemorative ass tattoo for someone’s grandmother. While successful in a sort of adorably sardonic way, this approach does leave Sauropod coming off at times as a little too contrived, leaving a stark contrast between the stand-out and less-successful tracks. In other words, what’s good here is pretty damn catchy, what’s bad is pretty damn terrible, but I’ll certainly be looking forward to their next album.   

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