Summer in Scandinavia is an optimistic time, with long hours of light and mild weather far removed from the cold, bitter winters. But there’s a danger in being too complacent and hopeful. If things seem a little too perfect, they probably are. The tables can turn quickly—and therein lies the fascinating musical and lyrical tension of Die In June, the highly charged, long awaited new four song EP by Norwegian band Peel.
Over the past few years, the powerhouse, genre-busting five piece powerhouse band has brought its bold artistry and sheer in your face audacity to a fascinating quality hungry music demographic. Performing gigs at clubs in and around their home base of Oslo and festivals like Quartfestivalen and Elveblestivalen, they’ve won over headbangers, emos, straight rockers, popheads and lovers of progressive sounds everywhere with an emphatic and intense, yet sophisticated and iconoclastic swirl of rock and industrial nerve pop.
These fans are drawn to the sincerity and warmth of Pim (lead vocals, guitar), Bertzkii (drums), Dan (guitar/vocals), Bjorn (guitars/keyboards) and Frikk (bass/vocals), whose music reflects an exciting philosophy of revealing (peeling off) and daring to expose their inner emotional realities. By maintaining a conservative, or even more devastating, an ignorant, approach to everyday life, they believe, people continuously impose restrictions on their talent and ability to make a difference. Ranging in age from their early 20s and well in to their 30s, they draw from a wide range of influences that doesn’t miss a classic yet progressive beat: classical, industrial metal, punk, old school new wave, straight edge rock, elements of hardcore…really anything or everything is welcomed and fits into their musical universe.
Their mass of enthusiasts include top producers and engineers like Adam Kviman (Eagle Eye Cherry)—who produced Peel’s self-titled 2003 debut album--and NYC based Brian Sperber (Dinosaur Jr., Diddy, Patti Smith, Live), who said, “Peel combines great pop melodies with a fresh, original sound…Pim’s voice is both powerful and emotional, creating a wonderful centerpiece and giving superb depth to an already rich sonic landscape.” Fredrik Nordstrom (Dimmu Borgir, Opeth, Panic At The Disco, In Flames) adds, “You sound F***in’ great!”
That assessment would be over the top if it didn’t so perfectly sum up the raw heartfelt power of the four tracks of Die In June. Drawing on a compelling emotional band history that includes disease, death, hospitalization, spiritual quests and various personal and romantic crises, Peel digs deep into such issues as alienation, fears of the human mind, life in the shadows, hopes and despair. They go full throttle into the driving opening rocker “Falling From Grace,” which was originally inspired by Pim’s watching a TV program about abused children and the disturbing reality that they got used to their plight as natural. “They became objects for someone else’s pain,” he says. The title track draws on a personal experience of learning to temper romantic optimism with emotional caution, while “Second Man On The Moon” taps into the dichotomy between being the celebrated #1 and the forgotten #2. The intense and heavy chorded “Unheard,” which one U.S. journalist compared to the music of British alt-rock band Placebo, touches on a similar theme to “Falling From Grace” (but with darker undertones) as it explores the reality of being a marginalized outsider.
Pim says, “Peel is all about strong melodies and heart and thought lyrics wrapped in a playful blend of sadness, rage, beauty and honesty. We’ve done it all, from dark, gothic and metal to Beatlesque songs and others that mix a haunting and depressive feel with 80s singalong choruses. Because we’re from Norway, there are always elements of melancholy and a cold Northern feel. Our goal is to let our music be heard outside Norway, where we have a strong following but don’t have a place at the table on mainstream radio because of narrow playlists. Besides the opportunity to make great music, Peel is about the kind of creative chemistry that can only come from the feeling that despite our many differences, all of us together form a unique brotherhood. There’s so much more than music that bonds us.”