Shaving the Werewolf
God Whisperer EP

So like, as a dude inching closer and closer to 40, I’ve been finding myself doing a fair amount of self-reflecting and fighting through existential crises and all that fun shit. I often end up wondering what the hell is wrong with me because I remember being in my teens and 20s and having a real vivid idea of what a 40 year-old looked and acted like, and frankly – I ain’t it. I like to think of myself as a fairly well-put-together kinda guy but also… not? If you’ve already lived through this mid-life crap, maybe you have an idea what I’m babbling about. If you haven’t gotten there yet, just know that midlife crises aren’t all necessarily about, like, panic-buying sports cars to try and feel younger. It might just make you sit back and wonder – what the fuck am I doing with my life?

I can’t tell if this state of mind is the best, or the worst way to dive into Norway’s Shaving the Werewolf, an act I just last year was introduced to through their split EP with countrymates Utflod. My takeaway from that little get-together was, more-or-less:

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Bonkers. Absolute apeshit. But, fuck me, I couldn’t get enough of it. I savored every explosive, unhinged moment of their chaotic blend of Power Violence, Noise, Mathcore, Hardcore and, just like, screaming. Lots of screaming. I dunno what it is, but it just reached out and grabbed hold of some primal need in me to remove myself from polite society and get as far away from the straight-laced world of “normal” I’ve struggled mightily to at least be on speaking terms with.

So as I get ready to dive into God Whisperer, I have to ask myself… Is listening to Shaving the Werewolf good for my mental health?

Well what I can tell you is that the band still seems to going through it, whatever the hell “it” is. God Whisperer is no-holds-barred, absolute anarchy from the get-go – an unrelenting face fuck of a sound, spamming your ears drums and brain cells with pure filth from start to finish. The very first thing you hear is essentially the sound of the most grating, eardrum-piercing digital alarm clock you’ll ever find, followed soon after by vocalist Ottar Skift skipping past any notion of “singing” and just going straight for unhinged rambling – something about being depressed, going to the doctor and getting, like, an outpatient lobotomy? I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe what listening to this sounds like so, I mean, pretty dang appropriate if you ask me. The results of this procedure seem to have had some catastrophic effects, despite Skift proclaiming (loudly) that he feels like a million bucks – because I can only assume that’s what led to this completely deranged performance. The dude is a friggin’ menace, and his bandmates are no less committed to the chaos, launching into heaving breakdowns littered with a barrage of noise rock accents courtesy of synthesist Vegard, who keeps himself plenty busy polluting the band’s sound with all manner of audio jetsam.

But that’s only scratching the surface of lunacy. “Junk Food” continues the barrage of discordant guitars and brick wall rhythms while Skift continues his assault on common decency as he screams at some lucky gal or fella about letting him be their “Junk Food.” Take whatever meaning you want from that, but the vibes don’t suggest anything PG-13. As he unleashes a tortured, belting scream on the song’s last breakdown, it seems any semblance of sanity has long since flown the coop, and we’re all just left here to see where the wild ride goes next. Speaking of which “God Whisperer,” with it’s carnival-like synths opening the track, feels like being forced on a carnival ride 15 years past its scheduled inspection, with danger and certain, sudden death seeming imminent around every corner.  There’s so much going on in it’s furious 3 minutes that you may find yourself struggling to remember any specific moment of it, but goddamn if you don’t just keep coming back to experience the insane thrill ride again and again.

And we haven’t even gotten to the truly cracked shit! I present to you: “I Came Here to Fuck.” Imagine minding your own business, and this dude came up to you and just started screaming “I CAME HERE TO FUCK” for like a full minute:

That’s what we’re dealing with here, friends! This is the vibe. Take whatever sense of security you might have been feeling and just dropkick that shit off a cliff. If there’s ever been a face to match a sound, it’s Ottar Skift and Shaving the Werewolf. They go together like strippers and glitter. I T   I S   U N C O M F Y. And yet, I can’t imagine this band, or this track, any other way. He might honestly be a Cenobite. Point is, Shaving the Werewolf may well make your skin crawl, but they’re a band operating on a level f self-awareness and clarity most bands could only hope to reach, and “I Came Here to Fuck” is the ultimate culmination of that effort.

If the last track hadn’t brought things to a little bit of a stall (a 6 minute slog that’s just as unsettling as the rest of the album, but feels slightly unnecessary – but fuck you this band does whatever the hell it wants), this little EP would fly by real quick-like. It’s sorta like having a stroke and waking up 3 months later thinking no time had passed at all. Make no mistake, I don’t mean to suggest God Whisperer doesn’t leave an impact – quite the opposite. It was enough to send me into a minor existential spin, so that’s certainly something. The band themselves refer to their music as “disagreeable music for disagreeable people” and… I mean, yeah. I should have probably just started and ended the review with that. Look, this isn’t gonna be for everyone, and clearly the band doesn’t want it to be anyway, so mission accomplished. I, for one, will be all over this for a bit.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
April 5th, 2024


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