From 1960s bands like The Pussycats and The Vanguards to 1990s groups like Span and Zeromancer, rock music has been alive and kicking in Norway for decades. Here is our selection of five of the greatest Norwegian rock bands of all time.
Named after the classic album by the Pixies, Surferosa combine new wave with dance music to create trashy electrified pop music that has been labeled “thrash pop.” But the band members are just as well-known for wearing outlandish and distinctive costumes as they are for their punky-thrashy-pop sound. Hailing from Bø in Telemark, Suferosa formed in 2000 and went on to tour Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Asia, and the United States. The group also provided the soundtrack to the 2004 Norwegian coming-of-age drama movie Bare Bea, and their song Royal Uniform from the rocking 2005 album The Force was used on the soundtrack of the soccer video game FIFA 07 from EA Sports. If you are a fan of soccer games, there are plenty more you can play online, such as the Pro Evolution Soccer series and the Top Strike Championship slot game, which is available at an online casino.
Turbonegro formed in Oslo in 1988. The band’s style of music, which combines punk rock, hard rock, and glam rock, has been called deathpunk. Their influences include The Stooges, David Bowie, Black Flag, Alice Cooper, and Circle Jerks. Turbonegro are no strangers to controversy, as their lyrics often attack political correctness. Their breakthrough album was 1996’s Ass Cobra, and in 1998, Turbonegro released their most critically acclaimed album, Apocalypse Dudes. They have released ten incredible albums during their career, and have built up a hardcore group of devoted fans over the years. Indeed, “Turbojugends” from all over the world meet up in Germany every year to celebrate the band during the two-day festival of Welt-Turbojugend-Tage.
Hailing from the Norwegian city of Trondheim, DumDum Boys began life under the name of Wannskrækk in 1978. The punk rockers were inspired by acts like The Aller Værste! and Lasse Myrvold, who pioneered punk music with Norwegian lyrics. Still going strong today, they are one of the most popular Norwegian rock bands of all time. Along with Raga Rockers, DeLillos, and Jokke & Valentinerne, DumDum Boys helped to popularize modern rock music in Norway in the mid-to-late 1980s. Their many number-one Norwegian albums include 1990’s Pstereo, 1994’s Ludium, and 2018’s Armer og bein.
There is perhaps no band more controversial than Mayhem. Formed in Oslo in 1984, Mayhem was one of the founding members of Norway’s incredibly popular black metal scene. In addition to their notorious early live performances, the band has become known for the suicide of singer Per Yngve Ohlin in 1991, and the murder of guitarist Øystein Aarseth in 1993 by former Mayhem member Varg Vikernes, who was a member of Norwegian black metal band Burzum at the time. The controversies may have overshadowed their music, but albums like De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Chimera, and Esoteric Warfare remain hardcore classics with power chords that feel like a revitalizing pickaxe to the brain.
Metallers TNT became the first Norwegian band to feature on the American Billboard charts. Formed in the city of Trondheim in 1982, TNT has released thirteen studio albums, selling around five million albums worldwide throughout the group’s career. It was TNT’s third album, 1987’s Tell No Tales that produced the band’s biggest hit single, 10,000 Lovers (In One), which outsold Def Leppard and Michael Jackson in Norway in the first year of its release. The album enabled TNT to establish a mainstream following in countries like the United States and Japan.