The Norwegian guitarist Arve Isdal is best known for his swaggering, oft-shirtless alter ego Ice Dale, whose fretboard pyrotechnics brought a healthy dose of rock n’ roll bluster to black metal legends Enslaved when he joined the band in 2002. Early in the 2020 pandemic lockdown, Isdal formed a new band called DROTT with Ivar Thormodsæter (Ulver) and Matias Monsen, and the music they make together is about as far from his Ice Dale persona as you can get. Orcus, the full-length follow-up to a self-titled EP the trio released in March, sees them blending elements of jazz, post-rock, chamber music, folk, drone, and ’70s prog into a decidedly un-metal mélange. It’s a treat to hear Isdal shifted down into a more contemplative mode; he’s as good at building hypnotic atmosphere as he is playing tongue-wagging solos.
Decibel is sharing lead single “The Marauders” today, along with an unsettling, Blair Witch-ian video directed by Isdal. The track opens with slow-burning percussion and near-formless drone before ultimately opening up into a menacing march. You can read DROTT’s cryptic statement on the song and check out the video below.
“The Marauders are not visible through the layers of mist. You can hear them hanging in ropes and sharpening their tools of mischief before their dire intentions are manifested through slow, dark riffs and slaughtering, heavy beats. They are lost souls roaming the Underworld, vicious murderers and thieves constantly searching for prey.”