"Smugglers" (nunmusic; 2005)

Reviewed by Edwin Van Hoof

Norwegian quartet We was formed in 1993 by Krisvaag, Don Dons, Goshie and Thomas Felberg. Hailing from Oslo, Norway the band soon started a reputation for being a phenomenal live act. Not only in Norway, but in Germany also, the band received raving reviews and toured extensively. “Smugglers” is the name of their new CD, recorded with the help of former Masters Of Reality and Stoner rock guru Chris Goss. It introduces a matured band able to put onto record the explosive and diverse reputation of their live gigs.

“Smugglers” kicks off with “Cosmic Biker R’n’R,” which proves the band's immense power. The roaring biker rocker with soaring dark vocals gets overrun by the stompin’ drums and the whammy guitars of “Sulphur Roast Stomp” with a dense and intense atmosphere, directly marking the diversity of the band. Diversity seems a key word on this journey through We’s sonic loud landscape, where biker rockers, stoner metal and nu metal fly by with the speed of sound. Even a Brittpop referral is offered in “Crawling out of the Wreckage,” thanks to the distorted guitars and fresher overall sound of the track - a sound created by Chris Goss, doing an outstanding job with his wide open sound that fits the remarkable diversity of WE. Not only the production is handled by the Stoner King, he also guests on many of the tracks presented on “Smugglers,” as do many of the band's friends from acts like Euroboys, Turbonegro and Gluecifer!

With this CD it seems as if we are thrown back and forth between loudness and emotion. “Sassy Zazie” for instance does justice to its title being light headed and smooth, the title track being psychedelic grooving with floating guitars and a middle eastern mid section, of the coffee shop rocker “Sugar & Cannabinoles”/ “Lightyears ahead” with its touchy refrain and melodic bridge; it is all there. “Catch Electric” is a full frontal rock attack with an energetic shake, rattle and roll feel and finger snappin’ beat that is sticky as glue. In between the roaring guitar noise, "Go! Now!" also delivers the first clean and crisp solo as well! “On the Verge to Go” literally embodies the ‘goodbye’ as the album’s last track. Also a track that stands out (like the band does) and sounds like a full blown tribute to the likes of The Doors with emotional (Jim Morrison-like) vocals, fine tuned guitars reminiscent of “The End” and an unloading and hypnotizing ending with apocalyptic intensity. “On the Verge to go” draws a sonic picture Goss-style, as does WE with this remarkable record.

Not only is the music is outstanding, the amazing artwork is impressive as well. The story told of smugglers around the globe, the contraband presentation, and the odd passports and mug shots all add up to a great and outstanding release. 

Fans of 80s and 90s biker rock bands like Little Caesar, Salty Dog and The Four Horseman will dig this CD as much as Stoner rock fanatics infected with a Goss virus. Masters of Reality, Monster Magnet and many more come to mind yet WE is never a rip off of any of them. WE is simply too diverse and intense to be compared to a any other band. Stubborn and direct are the keywords to this release, and this extraordinary band. 

The CD also features a video section of “Cosmic Biker R’n’R,” “Sassy Zazie” and “Catch Electric,” which is very worthwhile.

We: Thomas – vocals, whispers; Don – guitars; Goshie - bass; Krisvaag – drums & percussions; Additional guitars and Production: Chris Goss.

For more information, check out www.werock.org.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 27 May 2024 14:00:24 -0400 .