NOXAGT | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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In slow mode, this Norwegian instrumental trio plays like a Japanese movie monster walks: lurching and stomping in destructive bursts of low-end noise, its gait only implying any kind of real forward progress. But Noxagt's violent music--which is even more intense when it's fast--is about much more than mere brutality, and now that baritone guitarist Anders Hana (MoHa, Ultralyd) has replaced violist Nils Erga, it's easier to hear that. Kjetil D. Brandsdal was once the band's lone member, and Noxagt's roiling grooves remain rooted in his detuned bass throb, but the 180-proof pow of drummer Jan Christian Lauritzen is nothing to take lightly: he provides the same focused slo-mo power that drove Swans' early stuff even while constantly adding fancy disruptions to the flow. Meanwhile Hana, who debuted on the group's self-titled album for Load last year, adds counterpoint in sleek, slashing lines and well-timed blasts. Where Erga's sustaining tone often disappeared into Brandsdal's, Hana negotiates the looming bass like a big-wave surfer. Noxagt has been compared to Lightning Bolt and Ruins, which fits--it's only when you're immersed in the apparent chaos of the music that you can hear its meticulous control. Waterbabies and Warhammer 48K open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.

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