Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 4/24/2006
posted on 7/2006 By:
Perhaps it’s overexposure to so much music that’s to blame for my personal ambivalence towards Gleipnirs Smeder, the offering from Jotunspur which features now ex-Gorgoroth members King Ov Hell, and Kvitrafn. This is a rather desolate-sounding album, and if the goal was to create a somewhat smothering atmosphere of dry, barren misanthropic vitriol, they accomplished what they set out to do. While not my cup of tea, there are a few moments here and there which should appeal to the more discerning fans of sullen black metal, as this is a professional, determined, and rather average endeavor which leaves a somewhat lasting impression, for better or worse.
The music on this disc melds a healthy bit of lumbering doom with primitive black metal, at times ambient but not overly atmospheric, which locks into a groove and pretty much stays there for the duration of the individual songs, scattering various huge-sounding riffs along the way. While not monstrously droning in nature, the heavier bottom-end of Gleipnirs Smeder adds an effective touch of grime to the album. I honestly could have done without the taxing seven-minute exercise in vague sound effects on the second tune, as its placement so early on in the disc is odd, and it would have served much better if it had arrived later on as a closing track. Luckily, the momentum regains a foothold shortly afterwards, relying on serpentine, rasping vocals delivered in hateful Norwegian, and powerfully rumbling, old school black metal blasting to create a sturdy sound blockade.
When things touch upon more ambient planes, the vocals again dictate the feeling and direction of the music, as more commonplace effects (slight delays) are used to create a cavernous, yet claustrophobic vibe. Clean, soulful vocals rise briefly and gracefully through more simplistic measures before an all-out ripping assault ensues during the fifth track, “Sol Mun Svartne”, and “Ginnungagalder” mixes more blastbeats, slower marching riffs, and freezing cold, harsh vocals sung in nihilistic native prose. None of it is crap, but not much stands out either. Like I said, average.
It’s probably just me, but I was a little bored with the closing battle hymn, “Ildkrig” as well, which ends the album by attempting to sound epic, and instead only sounds like more filler. The production values are also rather pedestrian overall, as nothing is really brought to the forefront sound-wise at any point, so, while evenly mixed, it’s also slightly muffled. I know, it’s a style thing. I’ve heard much worse, and so have you. In fact, this is a pretty good yet entirely unspectacular CD overall, which I suspect will draw high praise from Darkthrone and Burzum followers, as well as Leviathan and Xasthur devotees. It’s no Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam, but if taken as something other than a companion piece to the new Gorgoroth, Gleipnirs Smeder stands strong on its own as well. I didn’t flip over it, but it wasn’t torture, and there is much aesthetic value here for those who enjoy this parched style of black metal.
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