Released: 2006, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
A new side project of former Gorgororth members King Ov Hell and Kvitrafn, Jotunspor’s debut, GLEIPNIRS SMEDER, is a primitive, traditional foray into folk-influenced, atmospheric Norwegian black metal. Lyrics are delivered entirely in Norwegian and the stripped-down production is similar to early Immortal, Darkthrone and Burzum. The old-school vibe is felt from all directions but with the use of some modern atmospherics, the newer generation of black metal bands like Khold and Xasthur come to mind, as well. Harsh shrieks are off-set in places by cold, operatic vocals and primal sound effects (a wolf theme seems to run through the album) that really capture the spirit of the band’s ode to their Norse forefathers and mythology. With King Ov Hell’s just-announced departure from Gorgoroth, there is no telling if Jotunspor’s status has been upgraded from “studio band” but GLEIPNIRS SMEDER is a surprisingly solid entry from the Norwegian battlefield.
The operatic vocals (is that King Ov Hell or Kvitrafn??) on the title track and “Sol Mun Svartne” lend an ominous but hopeful bend to songs that are unrelenting in their dynamics. Primal nature sounds show up on “Solartjuven” and the haunting “Ginnungagalder,” while sporadic use of other atmospheric sound effects on tracks like “Ildkrig” (digging the military-style drumming!) lead the listener down the pathway to Valhalla. Buzzing riffs, almost non-existent bass and Kvitrafn’s blasting drums establish production in the old-school vibe and tracks like “Sol Mun Svartne” will satisfy the cult black metal fans with their lo-fi, back-to-basics approach. GLEIPNIRS SMEDER’s weak spot is the second track, “Svartalvheims Djup,” a seven-minute instrumental that goes nowhere, seems wildly out of place in the album’s linear progression and eats up almost one-fifth of the album’s total running time.
Black metal devastation is the name of the game on Jotunspor’s GLEIPNIRS SMEDER. Adherence to the time-tested parameters of black metal is top priority but certain flecks of experimentation rear their head here and there, as well. While not spectacular, Jotunspor’s debut is a worthy first kick at the cat and shows that the former Gorgoroth-ians still have some black metal fire burning in their loins.
KILLER KUTS: “Gleipnirs Smeder,” “Solartjuven,” “Freke Han Renn…,” “Sol Mun Svartne,” “Ginnungagalder”