GLITTERTIND… didn’t they release an album about five years ago or so? “Evige Asatro” via Karmageddon Media before they went belly up was an odd experience with Punky attitude mixed into Norwegian Folk Metal, when “Landkjenning” reached me via Austrian Napalm Records I was not overly enthused, but it is always interesting to follow a band’s evolution, so let’s see what happened in all those years and actually quite a few things have changed.
For one Torbjørn Sandvik is no longer the only member of the band, with Geirmund Simonsen he now has a congenial partner both instrumentally as well as in the songwriting department and “Landkjenning” is a completely different kind of beast compared to the debut, being a lot more epic and also Folk influenced, while still maintaining some of the straight rhythms of “Evige Asatro” and on one track even the Punk influence, so it’s not a break with their past, rather a big, big step forward and also upwards on my personal taste-o-meter, opening title track “Landkjenning” alone is proof for this, with a choir leading the way throughout the first half of the mid-paced, epic song, before things calm down dramatically for the second half, great way to kick off the album for sure.
And the Norwegians keep up this level of quality, with Harding fiddle, flutes and cello and the clear feeling that none of these elements are used in a gimmicky way, but are very well implemented together. “Nordafjells”, for example, comes out of the starting blocks more energetic and with violin, while maintaining a clever balance between these elements and more measured tempos, but the authenticity of GLITTERTIND shines through in the very stripped down, but beautiful ballad of “Varder I Brann”, which’s beauty exactly lies in the very basic approach to the song. The first three songs set the pace by showing a lot of variety yet cohesion in the big picture of the album, as these at times very different elements form a very interesting whole that should appeal to a fairly wide range of listeners.
Right after each other we also get the Folk Punk of “Jeg Snører Min Sekk”, the minimalistic acoustic piece ”Mot Myrke Vetteren” and the slow, epic “Brede Seil Over Nordsjø Går”, so talk about multi-dimensionality, eh? Borne by a strong and clear production, “Landkjenning”, which focuses on the life of Olav Tryggvason, King of Norway from 995 to 1000, is a very nicely unpretentious piece of Norwegian Metal that reminds us that you do not have to be flashy to deliver a convincing piece that will not get lost in the shuffle of the myriads of bands still trying their luck in this style.
A grand, sweeping album that captures the serene beauty of Norway, easily accessible yet not shallow, I am happy that I did not write off GLITTERTIND, if they can continue in the vein of “Landkjenning”, they should quickly continue to ascend in the ranks of the scene!
(Online December 22, 2009)