There are very few constants in life these days, but one damn well abiding one is that gritty noise rock will always have a very special place in my heart. My burning love towards this multifaceted and perplexingly chameleonic genre got ignited some years back through writing a few premieres like this for bands in that sonic nook, and soon enough I noticed I’m gravitating towards it more and more. So you better believe me that when something is pitched to me as ‘the good kind of nasty’, I jump on it without skipping a beat. And once again, I’m really fucking glad I did.

The Nordic experimental noise rock duo Barren Womb are gearing up to release their fifth full-length Chemical Tardigrade on February 16 via Fucking North Pole Records and Blues For The Red Sun, and together with all of the aforementioned, we’re thrilled to bring you the advanced premiere of said monolithic endeavour right here, right now, so dig in;

Jesus H., where to start with this. Chemical Tardigrade spans eleven tracks, is simultaneously minimalistic but massive, rejoices in the band’s signature dual vocals, and altogether is just seamlessly ebbing and flowing yet mightily punishing, excellent grit. The contrasting rhythms that get pushed together in milliseconds and utterly jumpy, unexpected tonal changes gives the majority of the album – and Barren Womb by extension – its signature flair. Judging by a quick glance at the band’s previous doings, it comes as no surprise that they simply know their strongest assets and how to utilize them to their maximal effect. It’s not too often that something so discordant and abrasive can be so enjoyable and even upbeat at times, but here I am, throwing furniture through the windows and setting carpets on fire while smiling about it.

This record is equally a celebration of the frail yet vigorous concept of living, an expressive act of exorcism, emotionally and musically.

As the above quote found in the press kit aptly puts it, Barren Womb are first and foremost full of life on Chemical Tardigrade. Regardless of whether the duo sails smoothly or decides to destroy everything on their way, there’s always a strong underlying sense of positivity attached to their music, which is exceptional when you think about it. Are Barren Womb happy music? Not necessarily, no, but they for sure will make you happy. The duo also occasionally call in the not-so-subtle tongue-in-cheek twist to their doings that add a lot of colour to the already rather eclectic palette, and ultimately the most notable aspect of Chemical Tardigrade is indeed how it puts these colors to use, to paint a coherent yet unrestrained image of its own.

The band had the following to say about their new album:

While making music has always been extremely enjoyable, it has rarely been as much fun as with “Chemical Tardigrade”. It was a truly effortless and collaborative experience, where at times the songs almost felt like they were writing themselves. Also, getting to record and hang out with the incredibly talented Eirik Øien again was a hoot and a half. Lyrically, we touch on all the usual suspects, multiplied by the sheer terror of being alive in 2024: inequality, alienation, general darkness, war, drugs (both store-bought and homemade), escapism, sarcasm, and tons of other feel-good stuff. To say that we are proud of this one would be the understatement of the year.

Be sure to follow Barren Womb on Facebook and Instagram, and pre-order Chemical Tardigrade on vinyl from here and on digital from here.

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