I find that one of the interesting things about the whole “Folk Metal
” genre (and sub-genres thereof) is that each band has a slightly different take on it than their fellow acts. It's a genre that you would think is quite limiting, but on the contrary – it seems to give diverse, yet like-minded musicians so much scope to experiment. Glittertind
– now a full band rather than a solo-ish project – are no exception.
I first came across Glittertind
on their commendable 2005 EP “Til Dovre Faller” and again with 2009's “Landkjenning” full length, both showing signs of brilliance as well as a songwriter honing his craft. 4 years on and “Djevelsvart” seems to be the overall style the band have chosen - a native Norwegian sung Folk-tinged Rock/Metal
with varying influences, most notably early 80's Pop and Post-punk! No, wait, maybe I'd better elaborate (as it is my job after all...) before you start fearing all sorts of horrors – we may have differing ideas of Post-punk...
After the rather Polka-style intro, the title track is a good place to start. Think Fejd
, with elements of Tenpole Tudor
and possibly The Dictators
. Catchy, bouncy and sure to be a live favourite. Slightly offset from that, 'Sundriven' is Heavy Rock with equal elements of Alestorm
and The Pogues (especially in the swig-along Woa-woa chorus). Continuing along, 'Sprekk for Sol
' has some of the above with a dose of Vision Bleak
style spookiness (I told you this album wasn't straight-forward!). 'Kvilelaus' is a gorgeous ballad that actually reminds me of something Midnattsol
or Leaves Eyes
might conjure up...but with male vocals of course. Yet 'Trollbunden' is a total surprise – it's early parts have an almost Scar influence and very early 80's euro-pop in feel, but it's suitably quirky and has a good Metal
chorus. It jars a little on first listen, but turns out to be quite memorable and just plain fun in the end.
But no song is like it's predecessor, and if it wasn't for it's Norwegian vocals, 'Nymåne' could be straight off a Trans-Siberian Orchestra
album – a piano based song full of drama and theatrics (which also reminds me of a little-known Icelandic band called Stripshow from the mid 90's). Of course they follow that with mid-tempo rocker 'Tåketanker', again sporting that slight Punky edge. 'Stjerneslør' is a more epic affair, without distorted guitar. It's about as traditional as the band get – this one definitely makes me think of Fejd
, but there is always a slightly darker, edgier undertone that I can't quite put my finger on. This is carried on in spades into the sombre piano instrumental 'Utgang' that is surely destined for a long drawn-out movie death-scene at some point...I'm sure even the harshest, most cynical viewer would be glassy-eyed – the power of music eh? It's the last track – Wow, what totally downbeat way to finish a Folk Metal
record! Nice touch – totally unexpected!
But that's the point, the rules are different for Glittertind
– they always have been. They just do what they like and hope others will like it too. A great philosophy that I'm sure will pay dividends for them. This also feels like the first release they have produced with one eye on the studio and one on the live show. It's another step forward forward for this innovative, genre-bending band.