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   ÁSMEGIN
Hin Vordende Sod Og Sø
2003
Napalm Records
http://www.asmegin.com


rating: 4/5

1 Af Helvegum
2. Bruderov Paa Hægstadtun
3. Huldradans - Hin Grønnkledde
4. Til Rondefolkets Herskab
5. Over Ægirs Vidstragte Sletter
6. Slit Livets Baand
7. Efterbyrden
8. Op Af Bisterlitjernet
9. Vargr I Véum
10. Blodhevn
11. Valgalder

I've heard a mp3 file from Ásmegin some time ago which evoked my interest for this Norwegian band. Ásmegin aim to merge traditional Norwegian folk music with metal (mostly of the death/blackish kind). I would say they succeeded only partly.

I believe I can deal with weirdness within music to some extend, but some of the tracks on this album are simply too chaotic for me. What's the point in having a song starting with a capella singing, leading it over into a blast beat part and letting it end with some traditional metal guitar playing ("Over Ægirs Vidstragte Sletter")? Ásmegin are certainly creative and have many ideas, but how they are put together sometimes leaves me confused. Less would have been more here. Anyway, Ásmegin have an impressive amount of guest musicians playing instruments such as fiddle, Norwegian zither, harp, flutes, piano and some more. Most of them can be found on "Huldradans - Hin Grønnkledde", an all acoustic song which naturally has an ethnic feel to it. "Slit Livets Baand" is very symphonic, soundtrack-like - but of what use is that crying of a baby during this song and the next? Maybe there's a connection to the lyrics that I don't understand. I like Ásmegin best when they stay a little more straight forward (for their standards), like in "Til Rondefolkets Herskab", "Op Af Bisterlitjernet" (do I hear Windir and Thyrfing influences there?) or "Blodhevn".

Another remarkable thing about Ásmegin are the various vocals. Bjørn Olav Holter really makes use of his "grim and soar throat" (as stated in the booklet) that is supported by various additional vocals by the other band members. The leading clean vocals come courtesy of Lazare (Borknagar, Solefald) and I'm a huge fan of his distinctive voice. It's pure pleasure to hear him sing and during a lot of the choirs I often find myself reminded of Solefald. Then there's also female vocals. Not my thing but there are parts where they fit in and I think it's fine. On some tracks though I wished I was deaf. There's some horrible howling there (listen to "Vargr I Véum" for an example) that often almost ruins the song for me.

As I said earlier, less would have been more here at times (and I'm not only talking of female vocals here ;)). But it's original music and thus I applaud their effort.

submitted by Cora 07.09.2003

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