Never before have I heard of a band named after a range of hot sauce. That’s until I came across Norwegian trio Bushman’s Revenge. The band discovered Bushman’s Revenge during a trip to South Africa back in 2003. During that trip, they enjoyed several memorable encounters with Bushman’s Revenge. It made a lasting impression. So much so, that when they discovered they’d a concert to play, but no name for their band, they decided to call their band Bushman’s Revenge. That was 2003. Now ten years later, Bushman’s Revenge are about to release their sixth album, Thou Shalt Not Boogie! It will be released on Rune Grammofon on 20th January 2014. Thou Shalt Not Boogie finds Bushman’s Revenge doing what they do best. For the uninitiated, that’s fusing free jazz, prog rock and power rock. 

On Thou Shalt Not Boogie!, Bushman’s Revenge combine their love for free jazz and prog rock. Bushman’s Revenge draw inspiration from an eclectic selection of musical influences, including Sun Ra, Cream, Alice Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cream, Black Sabbath, The Pixies and Sonny Sharrock. This is a potent and compelling combination of musical influences which sonically, describes what Bushman’s Revenge’s music sounds like. This heady brew of musical genres and influences has been winning friends and influencing people since 2003.

That’s when guitarist Even Helte Hermansen, bassist Rune Nergaard and drummer and vibes player Gard Nilssen founded Bushman’s Revenge. They shared a love of free jazz and prog rock. They’re all talented and experienced musicians, who are stalwarts of Norway’s music scene. Having honed their sound by playing live for four years, Bushman’s Revenge released their debut album in 2007.

Bushman’s Revenge released their debut album Cowboy Music in 2007. It was released on the Jazzaway label. After that, Bushman’s Revenge next four albums were released on Rune Grammofon. 

You Lost Me At Hello was released in 2009, with Jitterbug following in 2010. Then in 2012, Bushman’s Revenge released two albums, A Little Bit Of A Big Bonanza and Never Mind The Botox. Bushman’s Revenge last release, was their live album Electric Komle-Live. 

Just like their five studio albums, Electric Komle-Live, which was released in 2013, found Bushman’s Revenge pushing musical boundaries. It was proof, if any was needed, why Bushman’s Revenge have established a reputation as one of Norway’s most innovative and inventive bands. One of its trailblazing bands is Bushman’s Revenge, who have been working on their sixth studio album.

Recording of Thou Shalt Not Boogie took place at Athletic Sound Studios, in Halden Norway. Situated close to the Swedish border, it was founded by Kai Anderson in 1983. It’s one of the few studios to record only on tape. Their are three separate rooms within the complex, but none of the doors are kept shut. So essentially, the three rooms become one. Famed for its warm sound, which will be helped by the use of tape only, Athletic Sound Studios was the perfect place to record Thou Shalt Not Boogie.

Thou Shalt Not Boogie features just five tracks, which were written by guitarist Even Helte Hermansen. Two of the tracks, Baklengs Inn I Fuglekassa and Kugeln Und Kraut are lengthy pieces. They allow Bushman’s Revenge to push musical boundaries and fuse musical genres. During Baklengs Inn I Fuglekassa Bushman’s Revenge pay homage to one of their musical heroes, Alice Coltrane. It’s a compelling musical journey, which like the other tracks, were arranged and produced by Bushman’s Revenge. The result is one of their most ambitious and groundbreaking album of their career, Thou Shalt Not Boogie, which I’ll tell you about.

Opening Thou Shalt Boogie! is I Am An Astronaut. Wistful washes of David Wallumrod’s Hammond organ play their part in the arrangement’s ambient sound. That’s just a curve ball. Soon, it’s all change. The drama builds and there’s a change in direction. Bushman’s Revenge become a power trio. Driven along by Gard Nilssen’s drums, seamlessly they fuse prog rock and jazz. Kicking loose, Bushman’s Revenge unleash thundering drums rolls and searing, scorching guitar licks. Their love of prog rock, Black Sabbath and Cream shines through. Feeding off each other, they roll back the years, creating a track that pays year to the golden age of rock music. What a way to start Thou Shalt Boogie.

Baklengs Inn I Fuglekassa is a seventeen minute epic. As it unfolds, the arrangement is understated and thoughtful, becoming melancholy and cinematic. Then it’s all change. As Rune’s bass powers the arrangement along, the band march to the beat of Gard’s drums. Even unleashes some fiery guitar licks, as Bushman’s Revenge draw inspiration from seventies prog rock. Slow, dramatic and almost menacing, Even’s guitar playing is at the heart of the track’s success, augmented by guest artist David Wallumrod’s Hammond organ. It adds to the prog  rock influence. Later, it’s all change, when the arrangement takes on a droning, hypnotic sound. There’s a free jazz influence as the track takes on a meditative, blissful Eastern sound. That’s because of the Indian struti box. Meandering along, the bass pulsates, cymbals hiss and Bushman’s Revenge to awake from their slumbers. A  droning sound signals the band’s awakening as they power their way to this Magnus Opus’ dramatic, genre-melting crescendo paying homage to Alice Coltrane.

Slow and moody describes the start of Waltz Me Baby, Waltz Me All Night Long. With Bushman’s Revenge however, anything could happen. Rock, jazz, avant-garde and ambient combine to create a broody, but beautiful, cinematic sound. As drums mark time, the crystalline guitar takes centre-stage. Ethereal and wistful, the rest of the arrangement envelops it. Growing in power and drama, the Hammond organ proves a perfect foil for the guitar. Together, they create a truly captivating, beautiful and dramatic track.

Scorching rocky guitars that sound as if they’d be equally at home on a Black Sabbath album open Kugeln Und Kraut. Drums power along the arrangement while machine gun guitar licks are fired across the bows of the arrangement. Soon, Bushman’s Revenge become a tight musical unit. They’re locked in the groove, the rhythm section driving the arrangement along, augmented by the Hammond organ. Guitar licks are sprayed across the arrangement. Peerlessly, Even unleashes blistering searing licks. Mostly they’re rocky. Other times, his playing veers from funky to jazz-tinged. Similarly, the band veer between heavy metal, prog rock and jazz. Truly, they’re a hugely talented and versatile band who seamlessly, flit between musical genres, whilst proving a master of all.

Closing Thou Shalt Boogie! is Hurra For Mamma. Although it’s just a two minute track, you’re life is all the better having heard it. It’s best described as sounding like a lost Beatles track. Crystalline guitars are at the heart of the track’s success. They’re helped by a moody bass and keyboards. Together pop, psychedelia and jazz  combine to create a melancholy, wistful track that leaves you wanting to hear more of Bushman´s Revenge, much more.

Thou Shalt Boogie! was the sixth album of Bushman’s Revenge’s career. Of these six albums, there’s no doubt, this is their finest album. It’s an example of a tight and talented band who have spent the last ten years honing their sound. This has paid off. On Thou Shalt Boogie! Bushman’s Revenge veer between musical genres. There’s everything from ambient, blues, free jazz, prog rock, psychedelia and rock. Sometimes, Bushman’s Revenge seamlessly switch between musical genres. They throw a series of curveballs, lulling you into a false sense of security. Then they spring a surprise. 

From a cinematic sounding ambient track, Bushman’s Revenge kick out the jams and become a hard rocking power trio. At times like that, they sound as if they’ve been influenced by Black Sabbath, Cream and the New York Dolls. Other times, their music sounds as if it’s been influenced by free jazz musicians Sun Ra, Cream, Alice Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Seamlessly, Bushman’s Revenge are capable of flitting between musical genres. Soon, you learn to expect the unexpected. You can never tell where a track is going. Even, Rune and Gard are constantly throwing curveballs during Thou Shalt Boogie! Helping them to do this was guest artist David Wallumrod. He was ying to Bushman’s Revenge’s yang on Thou Shalt Boogie! 

Usually, Bushman’s Revenge are a trio. On Thou Shalt Boogie! David’s addition augmented the band’s usual sound. This worked really well. He played his part in making Thou Shalt Boogie! the best album in the ten year and six album career of Bushman’s Revenge. Like a fine wine, Bushman’s Revenge are maturing with age. Each album is better than the one that preceded it. The best of the lot is Thou Shalt Boogie! which will be released by Rune Grammofon on 20th January 2014. Quite simply, Thou Shalt Boogie! is essential listening for anyone who loves good music and is the perfect introduction to one of Norway’s best bands, Bushman’s Revenge.


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