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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.