A Norwegian alternative rock band who have also attained significant international popularity despite (or, maybe because of) singing in their native Norwegian dialect. They are well known for their raucous live shows, during which they utilize oil barrels and other unusual items for the purposes of percussion.Their catalog of quirky Genre Roulette songs prevalently features cryptic, surrealistic "storytelling" lyrics in the vein of Tom Waits, that are often part of an interconnected, cross-album Myth Arc. Their lyrical subject matter includes World War II, The Mafia, Russian Roulette and insanity.All in all, they can be considered the epitome of Crazy Awesome and Hot Blooded.
Alternative Rock: Though they seem to dislike being labeled as such, adhering to the old adage "alternative to what?".
Anachronic Order: Hooboy. Always present, but the Violeta trilogy really takes it Up to Eleven. What's considered the very first song (out of a total of thirty) is the final song on the first installment.
Arc Words: If you don't know about the mafia-based backstory (and sometimes, even if you do), just about any proper noun can become one.
Audience Participation: At one special event for a hundred fans, they invited one fan to play drums on "Knekker deg til sist".
Audience Participation Song: Go to most Kaizers concerts (at least domestically) and you figure out pretty quickly that the band could probably do without their vocalist half of the time. The band tends to leave most refrains and call-and-response parts to the audience, at least on songs that are relatively well-known: Some songs will have the audience singing along on the entire song, prompted or no.
The all-time greatest occurrence of this was at their special anniversary concert in Oslo Spektrum in 2011. The crowd kept singing the chorus of "Die Polizei", the very last song of the set, for damn near ten minutes after the band walked off the stage.
A Wild Rapper Appears: "En for orgelet, en for meg", of which there are no less than four variations, each with the bridge performed by a different internationally known rap artist (though "rap artist" may not be the best descriptor for the little girl performing on the album version).
Bedlam House: The story of Maestro is centered around one of these.
Big Screwed-Up Family: The relatives of one Violeta. And in another sense of the word, the mafia family of Ompa til du dør/Evig pint.
Blacksheep Hit: They refrained from including "Prosessen", an up-tempo, relatively straight pop song, from their first album specifically to avoid this. Ironically, when it was eventually released as a single from Våre demoner, it was not much of a hit, even by the band's standards.
Careful With That Axe: "Damplokomotiv", from the Ompa til du dør demo. "Dieter Meyers Inst." also gradually becomes this, as Janove's voice becomes more and more unhinged as the song goes on.
The Cast Show Off: Janove is a multi-instrumentalist (though it's rarely put to use during concerts), was a promising soccer player (which he isn't afraid to show off if challenged), and he can TAP DANCE.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Helge's character is a somewhat Omen-ous example of this, as described in this page's Funny tab. Øyvind too shows signs of this in both live DVD documentaries (especially Veien til Spektrum, in which he imitates the sound of a newly opened bottle of wine being poured, which he does to convince himself it is actually a fresh bottle), but the extent to which he plays it up for entertainment is indecisive at best.
Concept Album: Their entire studio discography, but crowning honors go to the Violeta Violeta trilogy.
Concept Video: Many of their music videos qualify, however, "Hjerteknuser" might be the one most true to the trope definition, as it depicts characters and events detailed in the lyrical universe of Violeta Violeta, rather than abstract renditions of characters played by the band themselves.
Continuity Nod: "D-dagen" makes a lyrical reference to the character of Dominique, four years after the release of Ompa til du dør.
Control Freak: Janove's tendencies towards this are well documented in the Kontroll på kontinentet autobiography and a slew of interviews, but appears to have been assuaged to some degree in recent years.
Cover Version: A cover of Norwegian rocker Joachim "Jokke" Nielsen's song "Action" was released on a bonus disc bundled with the special edition version of Maestro. Furthermore, they have spontaneously covered parts of songs in-concert, such as integrating the bassline of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" into "Mann mot mann" (which features a relatively similar bassline to begin with), and (even more atypically) using the chorus of Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" during performances of "Naade", among several other examples.
Notably, they performed "Goin' Out West" at a birthday celebration all-star show in celebration of their idol (and reciprocal fan) Tom Waits.
Creator Breakdown: Sort of. Practically all the band members were undergoing personal trials during the recording of Evig pint; in fact, the master take of the title track was recorded while Janove was particularly distraught, which can be heard in his pained vocal performance. Made even more poignant when you consider the song's title (see Darker and Edgier below).
Darker and Edgier: Evig pint (Norwegian for Eternally Tormented) was a deliberate attempt to avoid the accusations that they were purely a gimmicky-party band. So with Evig pint the guitar was pushed into the foreground, less attention was put to the weird percussion and the lyrics got way darker. The funny thing though, is that Ompa was a pretty dark album too. Most of the critics seem to forget that.
Deadpan Snarker: Invoked constantly when representatives of the group reply to fan mail. Since said feature was removed from their website some time ago, this has naturally worked its way into their Facebook messages.
Downer Ending: In case the song title itself wasn't enough to clue you in, "Drøm hardt (Requiem part I)" is about a man's last night before his execution.
Done again in "Svarte katter & flosshatter" from Violeta Violeta Volume I.
Epic Rocking: "Kontroll på kontinentet" and a slight handful of other songs become this when performed live.
Very early on in their career, they would often turn some live songs into near-ten minute jam sessions, but these tendencies disappeared rather quickly. They do not consider themselves a good "jam" band.
Seven of the ten songs on Violeta Violeta Volume III are over six minutes long, necessitating a double album for the vinyl release.
Everything Is an Instrument: Oil barrels and crowbars, and for a time, trash can lids. Oh, and there's the inclusion of a distinctive red trash can in Rune's drum kit. Which is not to to mention the wide variety of quirky implements used for studio cuts.
Iconic Item: The gas mask. How it came to be in the band's possession (or is it the the other way around?), as explained by Helge:
"The mask... it came to me... and I just took it. And... we were friends."
Incredibly Lame Pun: Read a Norwegian newspaper. Any Norwegian newspaper. You will get a kipper if an article on the band has anything but something along the lines of "the Kaizer's new clothes", or "control over the [arbitrary performance venue]."
Large Ham: Janove is known to slip into this, especially live.
"The devil made that guitar for him. ...But the LAAAAAWD made him that suit!"
Let's Duet: Maskineri has two of them: "Den andre er meg" with Terje's wife Ragnhild, and "Du og meg Lou, og din fru" with Swedish artist Stefan Sundström.
Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: ...Well, at least they tried. This is what the special embossed-cover version of Violeta Violeta Volume I was intended to be. Originally, the point was for everyone who attended a show during their 2010 Studio Tour to get one in exchange for sending a special mail-in card to a certain address. Turns out they had some to spare after sending them, and sold these at the merch stand at concerts.
To a lesser extent, the Våre demoner album. It was printed in a one-run edition, and was to be retracted from stores after the passing of one week. Similar to the above example, it wasn't, and is still sold at merch stands in 2012 (though they have claimed this will truly be the last time they will be available for sale).
List Song: A bridge in "Din kjole lukter bensin, mor" lists, in bullet points, the process of Violeta and Beatrice's hypothetical reconciliation. What's more, the final stanza incorporates both last points by way of a pun.
Lost Love Montage: "Hjerteknuser" from Violeta Violeta Volume I and "Fanden hakk i hel" from Våre demoner both have elements of this.
Loudness War: Their CD album mixes are often accused of this, which makes the scarcity of vinyl copies all the worse...
Magnum Opus Dissonance: Ompa til du dør is widely considered their Magnum Opus, although Maestro (to a lesser degree) is often given the same consideration; in fact, the band themselves appear to consider Maestro to be their masterwork. This doesn't stop them from claiming their newest effort is their best whenever they have a new album coming out. These convictions seldom last.
Medley: During the 250 Prosent tour, concerts began with abridged versions of "Medisin & psykiatri", "Fra sjåfør til passasjer" and "På ditt skift" performed as if it were one whole song.
Motor Mouth: "Bak et halleluja" might as well be marketed as a professional elocution lesson at times. Also, when performing the band introductions during live performances of "Kontroll på kontinentet", Janove is prone to segue into this.
Non-Appearing Title: "Rullett", "Katastrofen", "Hevnervals", "Moment", "Kaizers 115. drøm", "Romantisk salme i F-dur", and "Christiania". The latter was given an outro refrain of "Bevar Christiania" ("Preserve Christiania") during live performances, however; fittingly, one such performance was recorded for the Viva La Vega DVD recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark.*
For those not in the know, "Freetown Christiania" is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of Copenhagen.
And aside from these, there are a bunch of songs whose titles aren't sung in Exact Words.
Numerical Theme Naming: A conspicuous amount of songs on the Violeta Violeta albums (perhaps more to come) have these: "Sju bøtter tårer er nok, Beatrice", "Femtakt filosofi", "En for orgelet, en for meg", and "Tusen dråper regn".
The chorus of the B-side "Markveien" becomes a Tear Jerker example of this.
Penal Colony: "Gruvene på 16", a common subject in early material, is a colony to which Marcello Conradas, an unwitting sailor, is sent to mine precious stones for the slavedriver Henry.
Performance Video: "Blitzregn baby", "9 mm", and "Prosessen"; the latter two actually consist of concert footage recorded by fans.
The Pete Best: Jon Sjøen, who left the group in 2004. Øyvind has since displaced him to the point where few fans remember Sjøen, and Sjøen is frequently mistaken for Øyvind in older photos and videos (which can be excused to a certain extent, as they do share certain physical similarities.)
Power Ballad: "Med en gong eg når bånn", "Min kvite russer", and "Jævel av en tango" have all been referred to, in-concert, as power ballads.
The Quiet One / The Stoic: Helge, wearer of the iconic Gas Mask, has one hell of a poker face even without the mask on. And when he speaks, you listen.
Rearrange the Song: Often invoked with songs that are performed live long before they are ever released; most radically, "Di grind" was originally presented as a slower number, with a prominent guitar riff rather than a piano part acting as the primary "hook".
Record Producer: Janove has co-produced all of their studio albums. His most common collaborator has been Jørgen "Duperman" Træen.
Revenge: An all-too-common theme throughout their work; the most famous example is the song "Ompa til du dør", which tells of a man who takes revenge on his wife's murderer by forcing him to "dance ompa" until he dies from exhaustion. A Less subtle example is "Hevnervals", whose title literally means "avenger's waltz".
"Satan i halsen"... wait, what do you mean it's not Leonard Cohen?
Stage Names: All the members have stage names: Janove is "The Jackal", Geir is "Hellraizer", Terje is "Killmaster", Rune is "Mink", Øyvind is "Thunder", and Helge is "Omen". Past member Jon Sjøen was interchangeably referred to as "Lion King" and "Rasmus", among others. Additionally, Janove was initially called "Rat". The origin of these names are uncertain, however, the band have remarked that Rune is so named due to his excessive amount of body hair.
Stealth Pun: Violeta Violeta is often typeset (on the official site, even) with a seemingly anachronistic comma between two two instances of "Violeta." It's well-known that Violeta's parents "named her twice" on account of her beauty. But, come Volume III, and the reveal of Violeta's stillborn twin...
Step Up to the Microphone: Terje was given a half a verse of "D-Dagen", which he performs in the raucous vocal style he uses when acting as lead singer for Skambankt, his other band.
In a hilarious instance, all the band members switched instruments for a performance of "Bøn fra helvete"; Helge performed lead vocals. In recent times, he has also performed the spoken word verses of "Svarte katter & flosshatter" (by yelling into a megaphone, no less) during live performances.
A borderline case is Geir. He used to perform lead vocals on a number of songs early on in their career, but this has since been phased out somewhat. Geir performing lead vocals, both live and on record, has become a rare occurrence over time; when he does so, however, at least the trope is executed in the most literal manner possible. He has returned to lead vocal duties on two songs on Violeta Violeta Volume II, however.
Surreal Music Video: "Knekker deg til sist". Let's see here, we have inexplicable clones of the band members whose facial expressions range from "happy on crack" to a complete lack of emotion, Janove (or is it a clone?) pretending to be a dead body in order to check out a woman's cleavage, and Helge channeling Samara Morgan. Yep.
Studio Chatter: Snippets of dialogue in studio recordings have been heard occasionally, the most famous example being "Bris", which ends with a fit of laughter from the band due to Helge ending his organ part in the completely wrong key. Another is "Under månen", a bonus track from the Våre demoner album: at the end of the song, Janove says to the others that they need to "work on the solo", as his improvisational instrumental break eventually ended up out of key and out of sync with the others.
The Beatles: One consistently name-dropped source of inspiration. They may even be more of an influence than previously thought, as the distinctive oil barrel section in "Bastard" was directly inspired by Ringo Starr's drumming on "Drive My Car".
The Devil: Alluded to in numerous songs, but finally makes an appearance in the flesh in "Begravelsespolka".
Train Song: "Damplokomotiv", an obscure demo song.
Uncommon Time: "Femtakt filosofi" - Its title literally means "Philosophy in 5/4".
Unplugged Version: Happens every once in a blue moon whenever only a few of the members embark on a promotional tour. Most notably, to promote Violeta Violeta Volume I, Janove performed songs, both new and old, on the piano, with only Øyvind on bass as his accompaniment; this duo came to be known as "The Jackal & Thunder Combo".
Vocal Tag Team: Janove/Geir on "Kalifornia", Janove/Terje on "D-Dagen".