Bassist extraordinaire Kjetal D. Brandsdal?s previous solo recordings, including the excellent "Freedom: Waaoh Waaaoh" for Bruce Russell?s esteemed Corpus Hermeticum imprint, barely prepare the listener for the full frontal assault that is Noxagt. This Norwegian power trio?bass, violin and drums usually, with some embellishments on piano, baritone guitar and voice?is positively demonic in presentation, at least on first listen, anyway. The rhythmic contortions of ?Naked In France? lurch and lunge like a foaming at the mouth rabid dog, pacing in the shadows. By the time Nils Erga unleashes his hypnotic violin trills over Jan Christian?s metronomic drum thuds, the body has no choice but surrender control to the imposing wall of discord. From here comes a barrage of angular industrial rhythms, head spinning jazz breaks and climactic eruptions worthy of a heavy-as-shit Hendrix raveup, only the guitar is a violin and the overall impact is compacted given the relative brevity of most Noxagt songs. ?Blood Thing,? on the other hand, sounds like a barrel-boogie inspired tribute to early Jesus Lizard that screams like a dying horse towards its no wave/doom finale.
It isn?t all brute force and moral obfuscation that these lads are about though. Some of the best things on "The Iron Point" come in the sinister churn on the ?mellower? tracks, such as on the grimly hypnotic ?Acasta Gneiss,? which contorts a lumbering groove into a skin-roasting sonic meltdown of the highest order. ?The Hebbex? tricks the listener into thinking Noxagt?s just like any other ol? Hilbilly hoe-downer for about five seconds before roving more hurky jerky jagged terrain again. ?Thurmaston? opens with some detuned viola wails before bass and drums get piled on in a funereal march of crashing doom and screeching dissonance a la Sonic Youth: the soundtrack to watching a spider slowly, determinedly eat its prey. The closer is a remarkable version of Pearls Before Swine?s ?Regions of May,? also featured on the PBS tribute 2CD, "For the Dead in Space: Vol?s 2 & 3" (Secret Eye). This one honors the tradition of the most abstract covers with subdued drums and trance-inducing viola and bass drones evoking Brandsdal?s earlier sound sculptor work, the minimal dreamscapes of Eno, Fripp and Tony Conrad, and even the Pearls Before Swine original. Not bad for a power trio from the seat of black metal. Also, get it for Stefan Jaworzyn?s hilarious liner notes. Jaworzyn?s work in the legendary jazz/noise power duo Ascension validates his credibility on this issue. 8/10 -- Lee Jackson (25 May, 2005)