Glittertind - Landkjenning
Napalm Records
Folk Metal
10 songs (36:31)
Release year: 0
Official Myspace, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Charles
This is a band I’ve been dimly aware of for some time, although they’ve released no full-lengths for six years. From my very limited experience of them in the past, they injected a sort of punkish energy into folk metal, resulting in a down-to-earth but anthemic spin on that sound. Landkjenning has me surprised, because it reveals depths that I hadn’t noticed before.

Although I get very little information with the promo cd, a bit of research backs up the immediate impression that the compositions here are generally adaptations of traditional Norwegian songs, rather than originals; frequently “metallized” but sometimes not even that. As with a lot of older folk songs, the emphasis is on distinct melodies, rather than vocal lines. Normally in metal, lyrics and riffs are written, and the former are barked over the top of the latter. But here, the often complex melodic formation forms the centrepiece of every song. This is great; it’s rare to see a metal album place these things centre stage and at times it works exquisitely, with sophisticated tunes often embracing patterns and tonalities that we are not familiar with in this genre.

As such, the best moments here are often the ballad-like interludes. The catchily militaristic opening of the title track gives way to an elegant, gentle, clear-voiced croon. The turbulent riffing of Nordafjells is interwoven with darkly twisting vocal lines, which switch into radiant major-key choruses. The plaintive Mot Myrke Vetteren is incredibly atmospheric, even haunting. (Not speaking Norwegian, the lyrics could be about feeding the cat for all I know).

One thing I can understand, and which sticks out like the sorest of thumbs, is the only English-language number here, Longships and Mead. This is the thoroughly annoying “sea shanty” number, replete with parping recorders, which I suspect is here to hoover up the Alestorm fans. As the stompers here go, incomparably better is Glittertind, a riotous parade through folksy instrumentation and rock and roll harmonised choruses.

Some of this really is exquisite, and that’s not an adjective you get to apply often to a metal album, with a unique feel to it. Aside from the odd contrivance which seem to be trying to wedge Glittertind into the mainstream kid’s party folk metal scene, this stands apart from less authentic-sounding contemporaries.

Killing Songs :
Landkjenning, Nordafjells, Mot Myrke Vetteren
Charles quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Glittertind that we have reviewed:
Glittertind - Djevelsvart reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:35 pm
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