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OK, here are the facts: Yes, Noxagt is from Norway, a prime breeding ground for extreme metal. Yes, Turning It Down Since 2001 was produced by Billy Anderson, the same guy who’s recorded doom icons Neurosis, Sleep, and Cathedral. And, yes, this disc is very, very heavy. But, no, it is not heavy metal. Instead, this viola-led instrumental trio presents a particularly ill-tempered take on punk—something more akin to the early-’90s macho rock released by the Amphetamine Reptile label. Like much of that particular catalog, Noxagt’s long-playing debut has its share of excellent moments: drummer Jan Christian L. Kyvik’s rush of double-timed thud-thud at the climax of “Mek It Burn,” viola player Nils Erga’s flurry of madman sawing halfway through “Pantyland,” bassist Kjetil Brandsdal’s all-but-smothered melody struggling to escape the sticky “Web of Sin.” There’s even a well-executed hiphop breakdown on “Cupid Shot Me.” But an excellent record requires something more. Noxagt’s biggest mistake here is the same one made by numerous instrumental rockers: The band incorrectly assumes that a cool part played once will be just as interesting played, like, 48 more times. Some small groups—think ’70s krautrockers Neu! or contemporary trance-metalists Sunn 0)))—can make long stretches of vocal-free repetition work through subtle dynamic shifts. Not so with Noxagt: When Erga and Brandsdal ride the same overdriven note on, say, “Manhood Lessons,” they sound about as exciting as a garbage truck in reverse. In fact, throughout Turning It Down, there’s not much in the way of speed or volume modulation. Noxagt just crams every song full of the same noises—narrow-ranged viola drone, modal bass sludge, and perpetual drum rage—without ever varying the context. It’s the sound of everything all at once, and it’s both too much and not enough. —Brent Burton