LAST DAYS ON EARTH
Release: April 20, 2018
Audun Skjolberg is the Norwegian version of the quintessential singer/songwriter James Taylor, mixing folk, blues and soul with energetic pop and rock and even some psychedelia. Growing up with a cheap nylon string guitar and his parents’ vinyl collection, he quickly developed a steady vocal, both sweet and sharp, and found the most advanced guitar chords and fingerpicking patterns from just listening to records.
Audun used to be a member of the Norwegian Grammy nominated bluegrass band Earlybird Stringband. He has been touring around the world with them, and he performed with many other different artists and projects both in and outside of his home country. ‘’Last Days On Earth’’ is his third solo-album. His live shows include both the solo and band format. By playing an old 1960 Silvertone acoustic in front of a Wunder audio CM12 microphone, he sends the audience back to the Grand Ole Opry or the late sixties folk scene.
Baby Come On
Take Me Back
Last Days On Earth
Here I Am
Laughing All Alone
Walk With Me
As a fan of acoustic music and really good voices, this album is right up my alley, even though it deviates a bit from my genres of choice - rock and metal - into folk / country territory. The best part, when playing acoustic songs, is that the voice has a chance to shine and show all its nuances, while at the same time being very fragile and deeply emotional (of course, this depends on the song). And Audun’s powerful yet delicate vocals and melodies are really good throughout this album, in perfect balance with the guitar lines and casual piano harmonies, keeping the level of emotions up high.
The album is off to a good start with the up-tempo “Baby Come On”, which feels like a perfect song for a dance, and the more mellow yet still very rhythmic “Take me back”, where the drums and guitars are in full swing. “Last Days On Earth” takes on a more acoustic approach, while still having a good tempo to it because of to the drum pattern, before building up to a full blown country rock track. I love how the electric guitar sneaks into the songs, and gives them a more rockish feel, that goes so well with the rest of the instrumentation. With “Ray” and “Here I am” things slow down a bit and become more emotional, as the acoustic guitar and vocals are up and center, with some neat drum beats to keep the rhythm going. “Laughing All Alone” pick up pace again, being a very up-tempo and dance-friendly track, with some groovy piano melodies that give it a certain jazzy feel. “Love Song” has a very bluesy feel to it, with a catchy chorus that is ideal for a sing-along or even karaoke, while “Walk with me” wraps up the album with a beautiful and emotional delivery.
As I said above, I am no stranger to acoustic melodies, as some of my favorite artists have put out acoustic versions of their songs, to which I listen with great pleasure, and I am sure many fellow metalheads know what I am talking about. And Audun Skjolberg has delivered a very melodic album, that might appeal to rock / metal fans as well. As such, I rate “Last Days On Earth” with an 8.5 / 10
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