Photo Credit: Kim Sølve / Trine Kim Design Studio


Norway’s Jordsjuk have distinguished themselves as one of the most promising extreme metal outfits. Their highly anticipated debut effort, the four-song EP Råtner på Rot, released on March 15 (read my review here). This offering features an insanely accomplished trio of veteran artists: Renton on bass and drums, Sagstad on guitars, and Mannevond on vocals. Renton masterfully composed all of the lyrics and music. Past and present, members of the Jordsjuk team have performed with many of the best black metal bands like Urgehal, Koldbrann, Djevel, Sarkom, and Nordjevel. The exciting news recently broke that Mannevond will serve as the new vocalist for Sweden’s Craft.

In December 2023, it was announced that Jordsjuk had inked a deal with Oslo’s revered Indie Recordings. Since then, the label has unleashed the killer singles “Siste skanse” and “Viva la Apocalypse.” Thus, Jordsjuk have already earned much acclaim. The important Norwegian paper Dagsavisen wrote: “This could quickly become one of the year’s hardest sensations, a trio playing dirty, sneaky, and devilishly obsessed black metal.” Again, we are certain that Jordsjuk have a brilliant future ahead.

We were honored to have the opportunity to sit down with both Renton and Mannevond, given the weight of their contributions to the movement. Without further ado, we present the result of our discussion.

Thank you, Renton and Mannevond, for agreeing to speak with me. I obviously really love Råtner på Rot. Congratulations on its upcoming release. Could you please tell me a little bit about Jordsjuk’s formation?

Renton: Mannevond and I have played together for 15 years in various bands, but we have never made any music together. So, we have talked about it for many years. In 2021/2022, we had some time, so we started to work on some music together. We also wanted to have Sagstad because he’s the best guitarist I know. That was the formation. We just wanted to make simple riff-based black metal together.

Jordsjuk has elements of death and thrash too, and it’s very groovy. The bass is unbelievable. So, did you decide in advance that you wanted to mix all of these elements together, or did the music assume its style as you began working on it?

Renton: We are inspired by the ’90s and early 2000s. We also wanted to make…

Mannevond: Maybe more straight-to-the-point, or direct, or in-your-face metal. Renton is the one making all the music, and I can add that this is the kind of band I’ve been waiting for for years. It’s not that we do anything unique, but there aren’t really very many other bands doing this kind of blend of, as you say, black metal and some death metal influences and some thrash with the focus on the riff. I feel there are so many bands now that get the visuals right and the cover layout, and they have the whole package, but where is the riff? That’s certainly not lacking with us if I could put it so boldly.

I believe that Birger Larsen is your newest member. He joined after the recording of Råtner på Rot?

Renton: Yes, after the recording. He joined lately for shows, but he will also play on the album, which we will record in the springtime.

Could you tell me about that? Is it a natural progression? Does it sound like the EP or is it a bit different?

Renton: I think it’s a progression.

Mannevond: Yeah, I would say it’s more of the same but with even more variation. When you’re doing an album with ten songs, you can add one or two different types of songs that you can’t fit on an EP of four songs. So, it’s not like a huge difference. It’s more of the same and a little bit more variation.

How was it, Renton, hearing Mannevond bring your poems to life because, needless to say, he does a fantastic job all around? Mannevond, you deliver the words so clearly. You really do justice to Renton’s lyrics.

Renton: That’s a cool thing about Mannevond. There aren’t many vocalists who sing in a way that you can hear what they’re saying.

You produced the album, Renton. Jaime Gomez Arellano handled the mixing and mastering. Jaime has done great things with Vltimas and Paradise Lost. Clearly, he, like you, also did amazing work on Råtner på Rot. How did you feel about what he did with the EP?

Renton: I contacted him when I heard the Vltimas recordings because I think the sound was very cool. So, after we had recorded everything, I sent him a message and asked him if he wanted to mix and master it. He said yes right away because he likes the music — right up his alley, he said. I’m very happy. He used a lot of analog gear, and it’s not just in-the-box Mac mixing. He makes it sound organic. It was perfect.

Mannevond: It’s important for you and to us to have the best recording possible, I would say. We’re not looking just to record this as fast as we can or anything. We want to use the right people, the right equipment, and make the sound the best it can be and also fitting for the music — not that we want it polished or anything, we just want the sound to be right the music. That’s an important factor, and I think quite a lot of bands don’t really maybe invest that much time and effort into it.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during the creative process?

Renton: Just making the music. Every riff has to be top-notch and stand on its own. That’s time-consuming, but we’re stubborn and just work very hard.

I love your guest contributions on trumpet to Koldbrann and So Much for Nothing, Renton. So, I was wondering if you might use any trumpet in Jordsjuk in the future.

Renton: No, we have some rules in Jordsjuk. We only use rhythm guitars, bass, drums, and vocals.

Mannevond: For instance, no solo guitars. No intro on the album or when we play live. There are some unwritten rules, but, yeah, we know them. We understand them.

Renton: We call them “dogmatic rules,” and that’s because we want to make the music as focused as possible and not be tempted to add lots of stuff.

Mannevond: Or even vocal takes. There’s one main vocal. There’s not like a hundred voices and stuff going on. The output of the music is also supposed to be in-your-face and direct.

Renton: This is a reaction to the trends in black metal where you can add lots of effects and as much as you want. We just wanted to make it as clean as possible.

The first official single, “Siste Skanse,” was released on the same day as your first live gig at the fest Orgivm Satanicvm III. How did that go?

Renton: The release was very successful. There were very good reviews. We made it to some important Spotify list, which is important these days. People seemed to like the song. It’s an easy straightforward song, so it’s a good start to present the band and the sound. So, we think that’s a great success.

How was your gig?

Renton: The gig was very good. I think we all were very happy, and that’s not often that happens in a band. There is always someone who is pissed off after a show, but we were all pretty happy with what we did. There were lots of people. It was packed. We played very early. So, it was very cool.

Mannevond: Great venue. Great festival. Great crowd. So, yeah, we got a great reception. We didn’t really know what to hope for or expect, but, yeah, it turned out great.

Do you have a lot of plans yet for upcoming gigs?

Yeah, we will play at Indie Recording’s label night at Inferno Festival.

That’s right! That will be really cool. And Mannevond — you should be there with Koldbrann as well. So, Indie Recordings is a really great label. I can tell that they do amazing work for their clients, and they clearly have a lot of awesome bands. Seigmen, for example, is one of my favorites. So, what is it like working with Indie?

Renton: It’s been very nice so far. We haven’t worked with them so long yet, but they do a very good job for us. We have got lots of attention for our singles. So, we are very happy. They know the business, and they know what bands should do and what to focus on when it comes to promotion.

Mannevond, could you please tell me about the special gig with Djevel that took place this November in Oslo, where you played a new song that will appear on Natt til Ende?

Mannevond:  It was at the same venue as the first Jordsjuk concert. The atmosphere was great there as well. It was sold out. I think I met people from all over the world. They were there for that specific concert, so that makes it even more special. Yes, it was the first time we played this very long and monotonous song. It’s a song that lasts 16/17 minutes with very few riffs. So, that’s quite the opposite of Jorsjuk, but that’s what’s great. You don’t need to do the exact same thing in every band. You can do Djevel, and you can do Jordsjuk. That’s perfect for me to have both of these bands and Koldbrann as well, of course.

Mannevond, Finn Håkon Rødland told me last year during an interview that you’re doing vocals for Grenjar because Steingrim really respected you as a vocalist. So, Eskil Blix asked you to be a part of it.

Mannevond: I recorded the vocals for this Grenjar album a little over a year ago at Eskil’s cabin/house in the woods. Last I heard from him, he hasn’t done much with the recording. I think there’s some instrumentation he maybe wants to re-record, but he has a lot of things going on as well with various bands. I’m not sure when he will finish it. I can’t really say anything. It’s his thing. But the main thing is that I was very honored to be asked. We had some special and good times with Steingrim when we were playing 20 years ago. And, yeah, it was an honor to be asked to record the vocals and the album that kind of should have been. That was a unique experience.

That’s going to be an awesome album when that comes out. You’ve both been a part of Urgehal. I hope that you had a great time on the Urgehal reunion tour, Mannevond. So, this is a bit of a sensitive question, but do either of you have any memories of Trondr Nefas that you’d like to share?

Mannevond: There are definitely a lot of memories. It’s just hard to pick something that is suitable. Well, we both loved playing with him and had a great time in the band together. It took us to the US and through the whole of the US. We played all of these places, and we loved the songs, and we had a great time. His humor was really unique. Yeah, he’s missed.

Renton, I was really excited to have been able to cover Nattverd’s I Helvetes Forakt last year. You played drums on that effort. I was wondering if there’s anything you would like to say about making I Helvetes Forakt because it’s such an incredible album.

Renton: Thank you. For me, that is a different kind of band because I don’t have anything to say about composing the music and stuff. They make the music. The songs are finished. So, that’s a very comfortable band to play in because I just go to the studio and record what I am told. It’s nice to have bands like this too. We are recording more in June, I think.

Wow. I can’t wait to hear Nattverd’s next album. Thank you, Renton and Mannevond, for your time and music. Of course, I urge our readers to check out Råtner på Rot.