Kambodsja are a band from Norway who have been a staple of the underground scene for over a decade. The band recently signed to Mas-Kina Recordings for this, their fourth full length LP Stranger. This album caught my ear very quickly, as it is something I have not yet heard in 2016. Some will argue how "metal" the album truly is, but I'll review something lighter that is fresh and exciting over the same old death metal record any day of the week.
Stranger is, if nothing else, a whirlwind of disparate styles and influences. "Guillotine" takes its time building up steam before exploding like epic stadium indie rock from Mew. I am a huge fan of Frengers as well as ...And The Glass Handed Kites, so it was great to hear that same sound come back around. Also full of indie flavor is "Vomit Chunks," which features a vocal delivery straight off of a Death Cab For Cutie album; albeit complimented by a much more furious guitar line. The instrumental title track, on the other hand, had me thinking back to Radiohead's Kid A and Amnesiac while songs like "Name Among The Dead" have a more straight-forward post-hardcore aesthetic.
Somehow it all comes together. These songs have a strangely cohesive flow despite the cornucopia of reference points. And no matter what the current approach may be, there is always plenty of talent on display. There is a math rock bloodline coursing through the veins of Stranger that shows forth in both the guitar hooks and lively drumming; an element that is further aided by the somewhat muddy, 90's-sounding production. The aforementioned "Vomit Chunks" in particular has some really energetic moments on the kit that are sure to get you moving.
If you're in a musical slump and tired of hearing the same stuff over and over again, you need to listen to this album. Likewise if you aren't a total purist and can appreciate less extreme outings in the progressive, post-hardcore, and indie genres; this could end up being your favorite release of the year. The entire thing is streaming below, so all it takes is one click of the mouse or one tap of the screen...