By Laina Dawes
Recently I have come to the realization that I’m not as knowledgeable about the various sub-genres of metal as I thought I was. A couple of months ago, Editor extraordinaire Sean gave fellow Hellbound writer Ola and myself a bag full of CD’s to sort through and review. There was quite a number that I was familiar with and perhaps being a bit cocky, I also grabbed a handful of promotional copies emblazoned with indiscernible band logos and prayed that there would be a gem hidden among them.
For the most part, my wish did not come true but instead, granted me the opportunity to discover music that I probably would have never even thought of – or bothered to listen to. The first one being Folk Metal. Now having suffered through Blackguard’s Profugus Mortis and thinking that it might be more of the same, I was understandably a bit leery about listening to Glittertind’s third full-length, Landkjenning. But perhaps because there is more meaning as to why the music is the way it is – from what I have gathered, the concept of the album centers around the era when Norway was transitioning into Christianity and the adoption of the culture (or being forced to) but trying to keep their own traditions and beliefs.
Glittertind is essentially a two-man band, which makes tracks such as the rollicking “Longships and Mead” interesting. The song reminds me of something The Pogues or our Canadian counterpart, Sprit of the West, might release – a blend of traditional Norwegian folk melodies with the addition of electric guitars, a slightly sped-up tempo and punk attitude, the raucous tale successfully blends the old and the new as they used authentic instruments from that time not only on the more ‘modern’ tracks, but I’m guessing on “Nordafjells.”
I guess technology is the key, but what stood out for me in Landkjenning was there was a fair amount of thought put into trying to convey to the listener that feelings that alternated from feeling isolated and lonely, roaming a vast, green countryside, or being in a smoky, filthy bar with a bunch of white dudes wearing animal pelts and downing beer from a horn – if they actually did that. In order to pull this off and be sincere about it, there has to be a fair bit of emotion put in, and that is why I….not my cup of tea, but I really appreciated. If you are interested in the genre of folk metal, interested in Norwegian history, take a listen.