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Gleipnirs Smeder

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Album Review

Although English is not the primary language in any of the Scandinavian countries, it is widely spoken in that part of Western Europe — and it is the primary language of Scandinavia's black metal scene. The vast majority of black metal bands from Norway, Sweden, and Finland have performed in English exclusively. But occasionally, one encounters a black metal unit whose members opt to write in a Scandinavian language. A good example is Jotunspor, whose Gleipnirs Smeder is performed in Norwegian rather than English. This duo consists of two ex-members of Norway's infamous Gorgoroth: bassist King Ov Hell and drummer Kvitrafn (although King Ov Hell hadn't left Gorgoroth yet when this CD was recorded in 2005). Gleipnirs Smeder is a long way from the melodic style known as symphonic black metal; Jotunspor favor raw, tough, brutal, very primal performances that are mindful of black metal's punk and hardcore roots. This 35-minute disc is mildly uneven; Gleipnirs Smeder gets off to an inspired start but loses some creative momentum during its midsection before picking back up again. For those who don't speak Norwegian (which is the majority of black metal's British, American, Irish, and Canadian fans), the language barrier may or may not be an issue. There are some folks who refuse to listen to an album if they don't understand all of the lyrics, while others are broad-minded enough to appreciate an album musically even if they don't understand the lyrics. Besides, the extreme vocals in a lot of black metal and death metal often render the lyrics indecipherable; that is a common complaint where extreme metal is concerned. At any rate, Gleipnirs Smeder is not perfect but has more ups than downs — and the very fact that Jotunspor include two ex-members of Gorgoroth will interest the truly obsessive black metal collectors.

Gleipnirs Smeder, Jotunspor
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