Behind the a bit weird sounding name LUMSK doesn't hide the latest Norwegian Death/Black Metal sensation, but a band that in their home country are hailed as the next big thin in Folk Metal and even during the first listen of their debut "Åsmund Fregdegjaevar" (once more I thank the inventor of "copy and paste"!) it becomes clear quickly, where that comes from, because what this Trondheim based septet offers us here shows a whole lot of potential.
The concept of the album is based on an old Norwegian Folk song from Telemark, which tells the story of Åsmund Fregdegjaevar, who rescued the beautiful princess from the grasp of an evil ogress. The whole thing starts with the king gathering his men around him to find a courageous and fearless man to rescue his beloved daughter. Åsmund is the one, who would embark on this mission and together with his brothers he took the king's ship, Ormin Lange, beginning their journey to the dark castle of the ogress, Trollbotten. Arriving there his brothers refuse to set foot into the castle, so that Åsmund is alone on his search for the princess.
When he finally finds her after many dark halls, he falls in love with her right away, yet she is enchanted by the ogress, making her believe that she is her beloved mother, therefore refusing to leave the castle. As nothing seems to help, Åsmund decides to take her home by force. Suddenly, as it had to come, the ogress Skomegyvri enters and the two of them start a long and bloody fight that Åsmund finally wins and he triumphantly returns with the king's daughter and the treasures of the ogress.
Altogether there are 89 different versions of the folk song "Åsmund Fregdegjaevar" and with LUMSK's try here it most probably is 90 now. But enough of the background, this review is about this CD and it is more than good from the very start as the intro "Det Var Irlands Kongi Bold" starts out with guitars and keyboards, before the guitars set in, followed by "Ormin Lange", which is introduced with a spoken sample (the king, I presume), after which it gets very melodic, but with ton heavy guitars in a measured, stomping tempo. To my big surprise we then get clean and very well sounding duet vocals, which also thread through the rest of the song, which seamlessly turns into "Skip Under Lide", which is even slower and enhanced by keyboards, organ, violins, heavy guitars and choir vocals.
On the short "I Trollehender" singer Vibeke Arntzen can show what great voice she has, fits very well with the heaviness of the song, same goes for the great "Hår Som Spunnid Guld", which only consists of a cello, her vocals and a bit of flute. "Slepp Meg", I have to say though, runs out of control, they los it a bit in this one, but thankfully it is a one time slip. Overall we get pretty extensive instrumental passages with LUMSK, as contrast we then are graced with pure Folk passages as at the beginning of "Olafs Belti".
For sure LUMSK are not suited for everyone, for that their compositions are at times not directly catchy enough and maybe the richness of the songs might overtax some listeners with its many layers. But if you have an open ear for this and also give the CD time to unfold and listen closely, you will be rewarded with an absolutely original release by a very hopeful band that we should hear a lot of in the future! (Online January 13, 2004)