return for the third instalment on their quest to prove Traditional Folk Metal
isn't just a load of old Balalaikas. Actually, there's no Balalaikas at all - however there is Hurdy-Gurdie, Jew's Harp, Recorder, Swedish Bagpipe, Moraharpa, Cow Antler, Willow
-pipe and a Bouzouki (which came as a surprise to me as I thought that was Godzilla
's little friend from the 80's cartoon). There is Metal
-style bass and drums with Nordic language vocals (lots of 'R' rolling “veeren-geeren” sounding lyrics – y'know the sort). There are no distorted guitars, which is what makes Fejd
different from bands such as Fintroll or Korpiklaani
– but Fejd
do have an unmistakeable Metal
Attitude, which always shines through in their song arrangements. Kind of what Eluveitie
were going for on their semi-acoustic “Evocation
1” release, but much as I like the heavier Eluveitie
seem to pull off this more traditional style with a bit more integrity and authenticity. This may be down to the vocals of the Rimmerfors brothers which do seem to suit the music really well and add that aforementioned authentic edge. All of the songs on this release could easily be “Metalled up”, but that would mean they'd lose some of their charm, a few of their nuances and subtleties, and to be fair Fejd
would just sound like every other Folk Metal
band out there.
The title track, 'Fjarrskadaren' and 'Sigurd Ring' are prime examples – they have a power and groove that could only be from a Metal
rhythm section (it's actually the guys from Metal
, so that nicely proves the point) and goes to show that “Metal
” is an attitude and feeling that can be portrayed as much by bass and drums (I'm sure there's double-kick going on at times in these tracks, but it could be just pounding floortom work...or both) as by huge distorted guitar. Most of the songs on offer here come loaded with a catchy vocal hook, but nothing too cheesy or “Piratey”. OK, admittedly you've got to like a bit of Folk to really enjoy the songs on this album, but if you don't – why listen to it? You know what you are going to get! I'm told that these guys are great live too and I can totally hear why. The energy and intensity that they put into their playing is almost doubled because there isn't a big snarling guitar riff to override or fill in the gaps. This album just gets better with each listen – which I know is a cliché, but it's as if you have to get used to the fact that the whole album sounds the way it does to really appreciate it. The production and mix also echo the “Traditional with Metal Energy
” feel to great effect, emphasising that underlying energy just as much as enhancing the emotion within the mellower parts of 'Den Skimrande' and the epic 'Vindarnas Famn'.
I really admire Fejd
for sticking to their guns and playing what they want, how they want. Because if the songs on offer here were given the usual Metal
treatment, the band could easily bag a short-lived-but-lucrative Nuclear Blast
type contract, but at what cost? To get Fejd
labelled as bandwagon jumpers? To force them into writing Pirate/Drinking songs as the genre ebbs a little? Better to be one of the best in your particular field I reckon...even better if there is hardly anyone else in that particular field at the same time – shut the gate quick and pitch your tent...or construct a Longhouse if you have a little more time on your hands...