Blood Command against the world. It is these five words that Yngve Andersen and Nikki Brumen live every moment; the mantra that guides Bergen, Norway’s “death pop” quintet spiritually and sonically, and which forms the soul of their fourth full-length record, Praise Armageddonism.

“A lot of Blood Command’s music thematically draws on the Heaven’s Gate movement,” vocalist Brumen begins, referencing the sect that began in the 1970s and ended with the mass suicide of 39 members in 1997. “A lot of people refer to it as a ‘cult’, but they called it a religion. Heaven’s Gate, which was headed by Marshall Applewhite, believed they would ascend in a space ship and leave the planet together. Blood Command’s music explores the theme that if you’re with us, you’re with us until the end.”

Blood Command have in recent years developed their own ever-growing and fiercely loyal following – who Brumen and guitarist Andersen refer to as the “Awake Team” – through three preceding full-lengths of hook-laden punk laced with an alternative pop sensibility. Ghostclocks, its follow-up Funeral Beach and third album Cult Drugs also earned the band ever-increasing critical acclaim to match, too, and projected Blood Command onto sharing stages alongside the likes of Refused, Gallows, Biffy Clyro, Kvelertak and more.

Praise Armageddonism is only set to cement the reputation of the quintet – completed by guitarist Benjamin Berge, bassist Snorre Kilvaer and drummer Sigurd Haakaas – as one of rock music’s most dynamic forces, with new arrival Brumen serving as the unearthing of the missing piece of the puzzle.

“Someone had showed me Nikki and her previous band Pagan years ago, and I thought then that this was someone I would really wanted to front Blood Command,” Andersen says today. In February of 2020, with Praise Armageddonism already completed, Blood Command to their surprise found themselves in need of a new vocalist. Andersen describes it as “the stars aligning” when he at the same time learned of the dissolution of Pagan, and Brumen’s own new-found freedom.

And so Andersen opened Facebook and looked up the profile of Brumen. And he began typing. “Sad to hear about Pagan ending,” he wrote, in reference to the then-recent dissolution of Brumen’s previous band. “I was wondering if you had further plans with music? Or if you’re open to a proposition…”

“It was a crazy thing to ask,” laughs Andersen, in reference to the some 15,000km that separated Blood Command from Brumen’s hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Brumen herself, however, was no stranger to Blood Command’s music, even acknowledging them in interviews years prior as being a band of which she was a huge fan. “For me, Blood Command ticked every box that my old band lacked,” she says.

To clinch the deal, Andersen sent Brumen Praise Armageddonism. Writing on the record had begun as far back as the summer of 2018, and had since been completed in its entirety with the band’s now former vocalist at between Bergen’s SpaceKraft Studio and Gothenburg’s iconic Friedman Studio, with Andersen acting as producer. As Brumen put in her headphones and pressed play on the songs in her inbox, she found not just new opportunity, but much-needed comfort, too.

“I was going through a few personal issues in my life, and having that album actually helped me get through those times,” she says today. “So many of the lyrics resonated with me really, really strongly.” To hell with the logistical nightmare that was being a part of a band on the other side of the world (and during a global pandemic, no less). The opportunity to make her own the songs that brought such solace was too good to be true. “By the time I was later recording on it myself, it was incredibly cathartic for me as I’d found these very personal meanings behind the songs,” she says.

The original blueprint for the creation of the songs to which Brumen would remotely put her vocals from a studio local to her in Melbourne was simple, says Andersen. “I wanted more of everything,” he reveals. “I wanted our pop stuff to be more pop; our heavy stuff to be our heaviest ever. That’s always the goal with Blood Command – can it be <more> Blood Command than the previous record.”

To that end, Praise Armageddonism is a triumph. Toeing the fine line of the band’s wide-ranging influences – from Blondie to Depeche Mode, Refused to At The Drive-In – has always been an integral and defining feature of a captivating sound that makes unlikely bedfellows of hardcore punk and disco. “It’s always about that bigger picture,” nods Andersen. “We aim to balance those sounds and influences across the album as a whole.”

For this act, Brumen’s vocals are key. Andersen praises the grittiness of her punk screams on tracks including Nuns, Guns & Cowboys and Everything You Love Will Burn, while also praising the emotional connection of her cleans that reveal an underlying fragility and sadness in songs such as the dancefloor-filling Saturday City and I Just Want That Movie Ending, which serves as not just an album-highlight, but a career one. “Being somebody who is a performer with an acting background, I have to mean every word I sing,” Brumen says. “I channelled those things that were going on in my life, and I would really focus on those things to help me believe everything I was saying. I think you can really hear that; you can hear my passion.”

With Andersen revealing that Praise Armageddonism features incredibly topical “commentary on social politics; discussions of how people treat each other, and how they believe they mean the things they say they do,” Brumen, then, provides the humanity – and a personal connection to the record and band’s broadest theme. “Being from a small town myself, I was something of an outcast, and my way of finding my identity in and finding my place was by going to shows,” she reveals. “That’s what I want for Blood Command: for people to be able to feel like this is a safe space, especially if they don’t fit into a pigeon-hole of what people think they should be. We write this music for them, not for ourselves; everything we do has them very consciously in mind.

“It truly is us – Blood Command, and our fans – against the world.”