Originally written by Jason Lawrence
Folk Metal is a tricky genre; you either love it, hate it, or have no clue it exists. It is certainly one of the less explored sub-genres of Metal, and so has less bands exploring the sound.
Personally, Vintersorg’s album “Odemarkens Son” has been my favorite folk metal album above all others for quite some time… that’s not including folk/black bands like Ensiferum or Finntroll and their ilk. That was until this album was finally released after Napalm records picked up Asmegin, a band I knew about and was interested in for quite some time, for a four album deal.
Hin Vordende Sod & So, the band’s first full-length album (really, it is), following up their 1999 demo, Naar Rimkalkene Heves, is quite simply one of the best albums I have ever heard, from any genre. Just the guest-musicians listing, including members of Ram-Zet and Solefald/Borknagar is impressive… aw to hell with it, you have to see the full listing of people on this album to get the point on just how dense it is.
Bjørn Olav Holter – Death Vocals
Raymond Håkenrud – Guitar
Marius Olaussen – Guitar & Accordion
Tomas Torgersbråten – Bass
Tommy Brandt – Drums
Lars A. Nedland – Clean vocals
Anja Hegge Thorsen – Norwegian zither, jew’s harp
Oddrun Hegge – Additional Norwegian zither
Lars F. Frøislie – Pianos, Mellotrons and additional keys
Sareeta – Fiddle, female chants and profound screams of terror
Anne Marie Hveding – Wood-nymph chants and female death vocals
Børge “Smuldra Glans” Finstad – Percussion on track 7
Gunhild Førland – Country flutes
Nikolai Brandt – Internal womb screams
The average metal album consists of 4-5 guys playing 3-4 instruments, metal bands have accomplished a good amount with this, but jesus cockmongering christ on a fuckin’ merry go round, compared to the average metal band, this might as well be a chamber ensemble.
You have to expect more challenging music thanks to all the folk instruments brought into this. Vintersorg’s Odemarkens Son was very folky sounding, but it really could have used some serious folk instrumentation. Hell, most Folk Metal albums could use more of it. It just doesn’t cut it anymore when I hear folky black/power metal with epic keyboards. I want violins and fiddles and pianos and harps and flutes and accordions and… whatever the fuck a Norwegian zither is (I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough). This sort of thing is really cool to me, the fact that you CAN take these instruments, drop the axes, bass guitars, skins & growling into it, and make something really, really amazing.
The metal style itself ranges from a death-like sound, to a Black one, to a more Thrashy or Traditional sound… its all very varied, and not one song sounds like the next – the band are all over the place more than a horny pack of rabbits.
Oh yes, I have to mention the completely CRAZY artwork and layout for the album, all cartoon-like, especially the cover art of a witch (I assume) stirring her brew, with the moon and some blowing leaves above her, mushrooms GROWING on her back, and a bunch of troll-things surrounding… yeah, go look at that when your tripping. How many Metal albums have the fantasy equivalent of a shroom poster for album artwork?
If I must try to make some comparisons, you could say that Mithotyn, Dissection, Skyclad, Elder-Borknagar, Vintersorg, Finntroll and Moonsorrow are some reference points, just to give you a ballpark estimate of what you should be expecting when you hear this band. I would say that Black Metal, Death Metal, Traditional Metal, Viking Metal and of course ethnic Norwegian Folk music all have an equal say in this band’s music, they sure don’t limit themselves to borders or boundaries, and even better, they play these parts equally good, unlike some bands whom mix many styles and simply can’t pull them all off very well together (such as Cradle of Filth or Opeth.)
The production is perfect. It breathes and flows, and everything is hearable. It really makes me wonder why the fuck some bands that only play 3 instruments and use one vocal style can have albums that sound like shit, and yet a poor Norwegian folk metal band can hook themselves up with so many guest musicians, get a perfect production, and all this BEFORE even being picked up by a label. It says to me that a fuck-load of metal bands are lazy pieces of shit, and these guys are really going for the gold.
Ok, I can’t talk about this anymore, because I’m already starting to ramble. If you’re not getting it by now, here it is, straight up: Buy this, NOW. Drive however far you have to go, pay 40 dollars shipping from a foreign country, let one of the band members have sex with you – just don’t NOT get this album!!! My favorite album of the year. Asmegin get no. 1 on my list. A+++ material. If this is what this band can do for a first album, I am completely impatient to see what they can do in the future.