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One of the best folk metal albums ever! - 100%

Svarthavid, May 21st, 2009

I’m serious. This is one of the best folk/Viking metal albums in history. I really have nothing to complain about here.

The production is excellent. Everything is audible, nothing gets drowned or something. The musicianship is great. The drums can blast up to blistering speed, the guitars are nice, the keyboards, flutes and violins are marvellous, and the vocals. We have beautiful female vocals, excellent clean male vocals by none other than Lars Nedland (Age of Silence, Borknagar, Solefald). He is really a very talented singer. We also have an impressive harsh vocalist named Erik Rasmussen. He can alternate between high pitched black metal screams to deep, guttural death metal growls perfectly.

Basically, ásmegin plays a combination of black metal and Norwegian folk music, which they do perfectly. The lyrics are both sung in old Norwegian and norse, so even I, a Norwegian myself, really have a hard time understanding them. I like it though, because it’s quite original. The only other band I know of who have written lyrics in old Norwegian is Lumsk, but they are just giving new life to old poems, myths and such.

All of the songs are excellent, but some of them stand out. Track 1, Af helvegum is a short, but atmospheric opener. It begins with a black metal riff and harsh vocals, and then a quite melancholic female vocal part, which is just beautiful. It switches a bit back and forth for a while, and then a typical folk metal riff suddenly breaks in out of nowhere. I really love it, it’s a true party riff. It’s headbangable as fuck. Track 2, Bruderov på Hægstadtun is an excellent example of how good music can be if you combine folk music and black metal. The song also contains a beautiful clean vocal part by Lars. Other great tracks are Rondefolkets herskab and over Ægirs vidstragde sletter. The former for the combination of all the vocals at once, the latter for it’s excellent clean multi layered vocals by mr. Nedland. A track I forgot to mention is track 3, Huldradans – hin grønkledde. It’s a balad with some beautiful female vocals. Ok, I know I’ve used the word beautiful a thousand times now, but fuck that, they really are.

I recommend this album to any folk metaler. actually, any metaler in general.

Highlights: Fucking all of them!

I don't get the hype... - 56%

Crushader, November 2nd, 2008

Weird. That’s the word first coming to mind when listening to Ásmegin’s debut, Hin Vordende Sod & Sø. Ásmegin is a Norwegian metal group that combines black metal with folk/viking metal elements and their debut introduces new streaks to this style. Unfortunately, they fail to build a solid entirety and stumble badly when trying to underline their creativity.

The biggest problem here is that HVS&S is almost a chaotic album. I can’t find much substance that isn’t too difficult to delve in. Music consists mainly of brutal black metal parts, strange folk-passages and lame mix of the aforementioned. Black metal-features are sometimes too close to "kvlt" and though decently well played, leave me disturbed all the time. Supporting folk metal-side of the album is diverse and occasionally radiates a mystical feeling that, no doubt, fits the themes well. Still, I don’t like the obscure structures and odd features that are crammed inside every minute of the music. Both quest female vocalists’ voices annoy me too often ‘cause they sound like they’re trying to match the music too eagerly and the baby’s cry that is used a couple of times, strikes me with uncomfortable shivers. If the guys of Ásmegin have wanted to make the listeners nervous and the music haunting, they’ve succeeded (which isn’t, I must admit, easy thing to do) but they have also convinced me to avoid them.

However, every track on HVS&S isn’t totally bad. The first too songs work well and are pretty good pieces of interesting folk metal. But after those the album starts to get deeper into the chaotic storm of decent music. Every time I listened to HVS&S I became more confident about the fact that I’m not going to give even a single try to Ásmegin’s upcoming sophomore release, Arv, unless my taste within metal changes notably. If you are a fan of obscure, chaotic music and folk/viking metal doesn’t disturb you, then feel free to try this. But if you’re not, then turn your direction, this isn’t for you.

Of elves and forgotten fairytales. - 98%

PaganFear89, October 9th, 2008

Af Helvegum storms through the listener like a pagan army, leaving nothing behind but dead remains. This is the first thought that came in my mind when I first pressed "play". Hin Vordende Sod & Sø, debut album coming from norwegian band Asmegin, is released in 2003 by Napalm Records. The band was born to be a side project of some black and folk metal musicians in the norwegian underground. After various member changes, finally a solid formation entered the studios to record the debut album, which will be released during October of 2003. The band's intentions were to make a folkish black metal with loads of folk instruments, but they did something more than just folk metal. They recorded a masterpiece.

The Album: Af Helvegum is still storming through my ears, alternating fast paced riffs and female vocals. It is a short song, but it shows off the qualities of the band. Various styles, choirs, keyboards and violins play some part in the song. Bruderov Paa Hægstadtun keeps that alchemy of instruments while showing a more black metal shape in the fastest parts. This aggressivity stops at the beginning of track 3, Huldrandans - Hin Grønnkledde. This song is godlike. A superb female choir chants over acoustic guitar layers and folk instruments arpejos. The vocal lines are beautitul but aslo sad. The following two songs continues the folk-ish metal style started out at the beginning of the album. Noticeable is the choir of Over Ægirs Vidstragte Sletter, outstanding in its melody.

A baby's cry, an innocent cry heard over some dark keyboard lines lead us the second part of this album, the most intense chapter of this norwegian fairytale. While there are no big differences between these songs and the other contained in the first part, it is my duty to write about the masterpiece of the album. Blodhevn. It's the most long song on the album (more than 6 minutes) and certainly the most complex and various song that Asmegin ever composed. The violns and other folk instruments are played with a good sense of melody to create a magic atmosphere around this song. The metal part is also very good because we wind some outstanding black metal riffs and unique power metal bridges. Simply, the greatest song on the whole record.

If you like folk - black metal and you are a fan of Solefald, buy this album now. If you are looking for some dream-like music telling elvish legends and fairytales, buy this album now. If you like metal, buy this album now. This is a masterpiece.

Unique and awesome Viking metal. - 87%

The_Boss, September 5th, 2008

Whoa, where did this come from? Norway's Asmegin releases their debut of intense Viking metal, basically being a mix of all sorts of things; black metal to brutal death metal, to all assortments of folk metal. All of this is executed extremely well and done with expertise, mixing and having a great sense of variety between the harsher Viking metal and more eloquent and beautiful and traditional folk metal.

Hin Vordende Sod & So has such a unique blending of styles it's very quite impressive, from more folk induced songs like Til Rondefolkets Herskab with the flutes, violins whatever being very easy going and grooving with the keys then exploding with ultra guttural death growls, then finishing up with strained shrieks found in black metal. Primary vocals are the low gutturals found from the main singer, but it's quite nice to see variety brought in with backing more high pitched shrieks as well as some of the best and most wonderful clean male and female vocals I've heard in a while. The opening of Over Aegris Vidstragte Sletter is quite awesome with a very epic Viking feel then trading off with the low gutturals once again.

The musicanship here is stellar, both guitarists know what they're doing creating powerful melodic solos, leads and rhythm work and at the same time executing heavy hitting riffs. Drumming on this could not be more heavy, fast and intense especially with songs like Bruderov Paa Haegstadtun and the insanely fast blastbeats and Vargri Veum starting up with a hugely epic beat reminiscent of Amon Amarth's more epic work leading into just inhuman hyperblast beats that rival early Kataklysm. The vocals are also a highlight as well with much diversity and all sorts of ranging lead/backing/clean/harsh vocal melodies and combinations, it's quite an enjoyable handful.

I find myself coming back to this album expecting a heavy hitting Viking metal album with plenty of diversity brought in by the plethora of guest musicians and instruments as well as the awesome mixing of styles and production. All the songs on here are listenable and not skip-worthy, instead you'll be listening all the way through. There aren't many real drawbacks, it's quite and intense listen the only problems I have with it is after several listens despite the wonderful variety in songs it does lose memorability. It's hard to find more intense and diverse Viking metal and with this debut Asmegin are sure to reach the top with the wonderful display of Viking atmosphere and metal. This is definitely worthy to every Viking's collection, especially fans of Amon Amarth, Bathory, Galar, Forefather and Thrudvangar.

Epic - 98%

Krie, February 8th, 2008

I believe this was one of the first "folk/viking" albums that i absolutely fell in love with. It doesnt just fall under that category though. The vocals are that of a death metal band; yet in some songs there are clean vocals; both male and female.

It's amazing how much is incorporated into their music. Extremely brutal, yet you get the feeling you're in the woods surrounded by dancing trolls. "Blodhevn" has got to be one of my all-time favorite songs off this album. It starts out with a sad-sounding violin, then in comes the piano, and just when you start to question whether it's a metal album, the guitars and drums kick in; and after a bit of guitar and violin melody, you get some nice singing followed by a deep, crushing voice. It truly is a masterpiece.

Definitely a great buy for those that are into "expiremental" folk and viking metal. I've even heard some black metallers rave about how incredible it is.

Fantastic folk metal - 91%

SvalbardDave, January 16th, 2008

I am really glad I bought this CD, Hin Vordende Sod & Sø. I'd been curious about it for a while beforehand. I was not disappointed in the least. I'd been on the hunt for all kinds of folk metal, viking metal and otherwise Scandinavian-flavored blackness. That having been said, here's what I find in this album.

Right from the first track, Af Helvegum, you get hit with a mixing of styles, sometimes homogenous, where it sounds Norwegian and folky but also incorporates elements of traditional western-European power metal and America's trademark modern extreme metal, with bass-vocal growls and downtuned guitar distortion. Sometimes it's more heterogeneous, where the aforementioned styles really are separate unto themselves within the songs. A good example of this is the second track, "Bruderov Paa Hægstadtun", where the power metal starts it out, but then you're switched to a black/folk style for the choruses, and back again.

The band's technical proficiency is also shown in the fact that they change time signatures with ease and fluidity, like in "Over Ægirs Vidstragte Sletter", where they almost effortlessly switch from the standard black metal 6/8 time to common time for the bridge halfway through the song.

Another area in which they show massive amounts of talent is that of vocal styles. Their sense of vocal harmony is virtually unparalleled in metal. The opening to "Over Ægirs Vidstragte Sletter" is literally flawless in terms of vowel matching and tone. They really hit those chords right on the head! They also show no fear in the diversity of chords they use in their vocals. In this song you'll catch lots of open seventh chords using different inversions in what's sometimes called "Chinese sevenths", where you'll have the top two notes in the chord arranged in seconds. In addition, throughout the album, they switch through many different metal vocal styles: the Nordic style of death scream, the American style of bass growls and "clean" vocals. As if this weren't enough, they'll also issue some strange vocal shouts as delivery effects.

Check out "Slit Livets Baand", a majorly epic symphonic prelude with some avant-garde weirdness to it. Haunting strings are backed by the sound effect of a baby crying. The theme continues to the end of "Efterbyrden". Weird.

I'm giving this album a 91, because in my opinion, their use of American styles somewhat take away, rather than enhance, the listening experience of a Norwegian folk/black metal album. All in all, they are very high on talent and vision, and we can expect to hear more great music from this band in the future. Incidentally, if you really liked this, you will really like Drottnar's Anamorphosis.

This is a Godly, Folk Influenced Viking album. - 90%

Reaper, October 4th, 2004

AMAZING! This album surely took me by surprise. There are so many variations of sound contained within these 40+ minutes of Metal, than one cannot fully absorb it all, without listening to it more than a few times. The highly folk influenced melodies mixed with harsh, tenor, and female vocals are a perfect combination. The melody falls perfectly in line with the vocals and the instruments. At times the vocals alternate between the different styles and at times all of them can be heard in one coherent form, such as in the song “Til Rondefolkets Herskab,” which is also one of the highlights of the album.

From the very first song “Af Helvegum” the brutality persists until the album concludes with “Valgalder.” As I’ve said, the mixing of the different vocal styles is a very unique style and exceptionally executed. And you know what? They have violins! Orgasmic violin background melodies mixed with the dazzling vocal performance is one of the many aspects that make this release a standout album in the genre.

Many bands fail to capture the listener’s attention throughout the entire album, but this album pulls you in at the beginning and doesn’t let you go until it’s done with you because it’s dripping with uniqueness and originality in every song. Every song has something different to offer, while still holding true to the kickass style of using many different styles of vocals and melodic approaches. Ranging from harsh death styled vocals to female soprano vocals to sorrowful sounding female vocals to male tenor vocals to all of the vocals being mixed at once or any variations combined. The possibilities seem limitless with this band.

One example of this is the third track “Huldradans - Hin Grønnkledde” which starts off with somber female vocals and very simple acoustic guitars. The track is more of a rest stop for the brutality to come. Although the song is simpler and calmer, it still offers a similar an exclusive experience due to the beautifully performed female vocals. The other side of the spectrum is the song “Over Ægirs vidstragte Sletter,” which is perhaps the most brutal song on the album along with “Efterbyrden.”

“Efterbyrden” is a perfect example of how this album varies in sound. While the drums are raping your ears with the insane speed and brutality a violin solo can be heard in the background. The Death metal vocalist offers perfect range. The Death Metal vocals, which are prevalent throughout most of the album, are not monotonous; hence do not hinder the song’s quality.

Another highlight of the album is track 8, “Op af Bisterlitjernet.” Death Metal vocals, mixed with high Black Metal shrieks insane drumming, violin background melodies and great guitar work. What more could you ask for? This song, along with “Vargr i Véum - Eilivs Bane” are the epitomes and best representations of the album.

The best track, if for the ending alone, is "Blodhevn." The entire song is filled with highly influenced folk melodies, but the last minute or so, is godly. The folk styled vocals are beyond desricption. You'll have to hear it to believe it, as they'll leave to speachless.

This album is a must hear, as albums of this caliber are hard to come by. Bands come and go, without being noticed, but this band will surely persevere due to its uniqueness and powerful song structures. I see a bright future for these talented musicians and hope for more albums of this quality. Get this album for the Viking Gods command you.

An excellent piece of folk-influenced black metal - 88%

drunk_folk_metal_guy, July 8th, 2004

What we have here is one fine slab of metal! Most fans of metal should be able to find at least something to like about this album. This band hails from Norway, and all of the singing is done in their native language. The excellent vocal performance on this CD is one of the many things to like about it. There are quite a few different type of voices to be heard on this album. Most of the time it's your standard black metal screech, but they manage to mix in a large amount of male and female clean vocals (especially in Valgalder) and even a deep death growl from time to time.

This band isn't going to blow anyone out of the water with amazing technical musicianship, but once you get passed that fact (if you are even a fan of that type of thing at all) the music is quite enjoyable. I mean there isn't much in the way of amazing guitar solos (although there is one at the end of the 5th track that is pretty fuckin good) but thats not really their style anyway. They do a SUPERB job of mixing the guitars, drums, bass, and keyboard with the folk elements such as the fiddle, accordian, and piano. Most of the songs keep a mid-paced tempo, that you can easily raise your glass too, or just rock the fuck out.

A great thing about this band that makes them appeal to people that aren't folk metal enthusiasts, is that they have a large folk influence, but it doesn't overshadow the black metal at all. The drummer pounds out plenty of double bass, and they use their guitars very effectivley to create a sound thats pretty goddamn heavy. What this creates is a sound that totally fucking rules! Why does it rule so much? The answer to this question is that it doesn't go to far in either direction, (although I am a huge fan of folk influenced music so that type of thing really doesn't bother me) it still retains a raw black metal sound, that meshes superbly with the folk elements. Just listen to the section in the 2nd track that comes in around 2:00 into it to see exactly what I mean.

The mood of most of the songs on the album is not incredibly dark and depressive, but not happy-happy folk metal. If your looking for songs to get shitfaced too, this isn't that bad but you should probably be listening to Moonsorrow or Finntroll for that type of thing. Although track 8 is a totally kick ass drinking song! It begins with a mix of a mid-paced guitar riff and some accordian, and carries it through most of the song, but it also kicks into a faster, more black metal-esque sounding riff that goes along great with the fiddle.

So I guess I could say this album has a little something for the fans of the heavier more extreme varieties of metal, but I wouldn't expect a kvlt necro black metal enthusiast to be overly impressed by this. If your a folk metal fan, pick this shit up now, as I write this you could be listening to it. As for your average metal listener, I'd say you would be making a good investment if you got this CD. It's a pretty unique style that makes for quite an enjoyable listen. Whether you want to explore your metal horizion with some different stuff, get drunk (I prefer this option), or just listen to some good fucking metal you won't be dissapointed with Hin Vordende Sod & So.

Sheer Bliss and Joy! - 100%

corviderrant, April 2nd, 2004

I am not too familiar with the whole folk metal thing, but this was/is a very good strong start for me and anyone else interested in the field. Asmegin are Norwegian, and sing in that language, but this didn't stop me from hugely enjoying this album. They employ a formidable array of traditional instruments that don't feel gimmicky at all, they are very well-integrated into the music on the whole, a good sign in my book. This shows me that they are not a joke band, that they are serious about their music, and this entire album just reeks of passion and feeling.

"Af Helvegum" starts the album off, and it goes from there into a series of beautifully-constructed gems of songs that will just take your breath away. My particular favorite is "Over AEgirs Vidstragte Sletter", which goes from trad metal to blasting death metal in parts with incredibly deep death grunts and stunning clean choir vocals coexisting in perfect peace. The solo section is fabulous--Queen worship to the max. The variety of male and female, death, blackened, and clean vocals throughout the album is consistently beautiful and well-balanced, and this makes me keep coming back for more. I might add that the production is perfectly balanced also, everything can be heard very well--but the drum sound gets entirely too obviously triggered on the blast parts. Which is a jarring contrast to the nice natural sound they have on the rest of the album, but it happens infrequently enough that it doesn't bother me much.

Don't let the foreign language lyrics stop you from enjoying this CD, because when you let it into your heart and soul, it will steal both away, leaving you its slave for good. And what else can you ask of an album but to take you away from all your troubles like that?

a must have - 99%

diedne, March 17th, 2004

Dozens of bands, in and out of the metal world, had sometimes thought that it would be cool to put something folk into their music, as part of a certain song to make it different or as a constant in the band. A fiddle here, a pipper there, a flute over there. Those experiments have had different results, from everyone's known Skyclad to the band some friends of mine had time ago, wich a fiddler among them (even when all the critics were unanimous: "kill him, and throw his corpse to the river"). And between that long list of bands, more or less unknown, Asmegin deserves a first class seat, because of this, their first album; it can't be considered a successful experiment in folk metal: it must directly be considered as a cornerstone of the genre (and as one of the best debut albums ever).

This album jumps from straigh forwarded black metal parts to delightul sections of multy layered chorus, fiddles, guitars and keyboards. The result is a very likeable album, very accessible for people that don't use to like black metal... or, well, to anyone with a good taste, at the end, as the final product is a oustanding album and a very original aproach to that folk perspective.

Mainly the songs doesn't just drift from the black metal side to the folk side, even when at times one of those sides keeps silent for a few seconds, but they use to be mixed and to merge, they increase and decrease their part in the songs, but always leaving a touch, and it's wonderful how the mix always works. The drums, the bass and the guitars (this is, metal side of the band) use to be the vehicle that sets the speed of the song and the base where the rest of the music finds its place. Violins use to be on the top of the melodies, but they also are mixed with the rhytm guitars, when it's necesary. And the vocals work deserves a special treatment, as sometimes you can hear growling vocals, clean voices doing a multy-layered chorus over them, and a clean female voice rounding the whole thing, all at once, over the violins, the guitars and the drums.

Only two songs are a bit away of that general scheme of wonderful mixes, to focus only in one certain side: The first one is Af Helvegum, a slow and sad song with acoustic guitars, female voices and flutes, that works as the peaceful corner of the cd, so giving some kind of deepness or perspective to the whole album. The second different track is Slit Livets Baand, that happens to be an intro for the next song, Efterbyrden, and it haves a child crying that is over all a disturbing and unpleasant break in the album, a very scary track.

All of the songs are incredible, great, amazing, well written and variated, and most of them can be checked from their website, but I guess that Til Rondefolkets Herskab and Blodhevn could be very good tracks to start checking this brilliant band, as they somewhat resume all of the elements of Hin Vordende Sod & Sø.