Folk metal? I must be out of the loop because I did not realise such a subgenre existed, however, here it is. Landkjenning is Norwegian band Glittertind's homage to its native land's culture and history. Mixing traditional metal instruments such as the ubiquitous guitar/bass/drums combination with instruments used more often in folk music such as accordion and flute (though no one is credited with playing any and it may be sampled), the band plays what I'd describe as "Valhalla Drinking Songs". The kind of stuff that will have you wanting to hoist a horn of mead as you rip a leg off the mutton roasting on the open fire, and gather with your fellow warriors to recount tales of battles fought, enemies slain, and heroes fallen. The lyrics alledgedly have a deeper significance though. Since my Norwegian is, well, non-existant, I'll trust the experts when they tell us that the songs recount the Christianization of Norway 1000 years ago. At least they didn't pick a touchy subject!
The music is actually quite interesting, mixing fast riffs and folky ballads in equilibrium throughout most of the tracks. The vocals are clean and sung in a pleasant tenor voice, all in Norwegian with the exception of "Longships And Mead". Standout tracks include the very proggy "Gar Min Eigen Veg" , with its exquisite flute passages and very catchy chorus (for those fluent in Norwegian, of course), and the heavily folk-inspired yet rather heavy "Varder In Brann".
I'm convinced that this record goes over much better with those who understand all the lyrics. My understanding is that founding member Torbjorn Sandvik is extremely interested in his country's history and possibly also a little politically-motivated, as the subject matter of this disc would attest to (basing this assumption on the description provided by the label's EPK that accompanied the disc). However, for those who just want to hear an interesting melding of very disparate musical genres, or who need metal in their or folk or vice versa, Landkjenning may have the recipe you've been craving.
- Gar Min Eigen Veg
- Longships And Mead
- Varder In Brann
- Jeg Snorer Min Sekk
- Mot Myrke Vetteren
- Brede Seil Over Nordsjo Gar
- Overmate Full Av Nade
FINAL NOTE: I did a lot of drugs in the 80s and maybe my memory isn't what it once was. I guess the good folks at Napalm Records foresaw this when they decided to remind me which disc I was listening to, in every track between 5 and 10. Thanks guys! This burnout doesn't know what he would have done without these constant reminders.