Written by: PP on 29/01/2022 14:01:08

Svartsot is a Danish folk metal band originating from Randers. They've been relatively quiet in the last ten years, having only released "Vældet" in 2015, but their earlier output enjoyed some critical acclaim at least within the folk metal scene. For their fifth album "Kumbl" they've come up with a rather original idea: they've gathered together a collection of traditional folk songs from medieval Denmark and other northern European countries, which have then been rearranged and recomposed to fit in Svartsot's signature style folk metal sound.

The album title "Kumbl" is a fitting choice, translating to 'Memorial' from old Danish (Norse), to highlight the record as a tribute of sorts to the historic songs written centuries ago. For example, "Liden Kirsten" is a traditional Danish folk ballad, "Carmen Vernale" is sung in Latin and is originally from the 16th century and was performed at the Århus Cathedral to celebrate the arrival of the spring, and "Drømte Mig Em Dræm" is based on a runic manuscript from circa 1300.

Stylistically, you might recognize the melodies from "Kragevisen" and perhaps also "Den Store Stygge Stimand" if you've been growing up in the Nordics, despite Svartsot modifying them to fit into their folk metal format. Mandolin, acoustic guitar, electric bagpipes, and tin whistles are used to a great extent to capture the folksy, medieval vibe, which creates a festive vibe that feels almost hand-picked for festivals like Copenhell, especially when they are coupled with growled vocals and Gothenburg-style twin guitar melodies from time to time. Additionally, Andrea Uglebjerg from Situationsfornærmelse (Danish DIY punk band) features as a female guest vocalist on two tracks, adding in silkier vocals that nicely contrast the thick growls of vocalist Thor Bager.

Perhaps most importantly though, Svartsot's reimagined versions of the medieval melodies are very convincing. It's a razor thing balance between just covering old songs and paying them tribute, and here Svartsot triumphantly achieves the latter. It's less stormy seas and glorious battle hymns like you're accustomed to on a Vanir record, and more playful folk melodies with a metallic backing. It's crafted in exceptionally good taste, utilizing careful songwriting to ensure the tracks are also memorable and catchy in the process. It shouldn't surprise you to find "Kumbl" on numerous top 10 lists of metal magazines this year.


Download: Kragevisen, Den Store Stygge Stimand, Carmen Vernale, Nu Stander Landen I Våde, Liden Kirsten
For the fans of: Vanir, Ensiferum, In Flames
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.02.2022
Mighty Music

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