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Jotunspor - Gleipnirs Smeder - 2006 - Candlelight

Track Listing
1. Gleipnirs Smeder
2. Svartalvheims Djup
3. Solartjuven
4. Freke Han Renn...
5. Sol mun Svartne
6. Ginnungagalder
7. Ildkrig
The new project Jotunspor has been getting quite a lot of attention for a debut album. This comes as no surprise, though, considering that members King and Kvitrafn are either current or ex-members of such bands as Sahg and Gorgoroth.

But, truly, Jotunspor is a far different beast, and to label it as a ‘side project’ of said groups would do it a disservice. Surface similarities do exist, particularly with Gorgoroth—gritty and bleak Norwegian metal— but Jotunspor approaches both the album’s subject matter and the performance method itself in a manner entirely different from any of their more famous projects.

With the intention of crafting an album that would be heavily focused on ambience while maintaining an aggressively primal atmosphere, Kvitrafn and King created Jotunspor, and an album by the name of ‘Gleipnirs Smeder’. The album’s themes deal mostly with Nordic mythos: the binding chains of Fenris, the wolf who will devour the world when Ragnarok comes (Gleipnir being the chain, Smeder being ‘smith’).

To illustrate this concept, King and Kvitrafn have presented a nearly equal mixture of music and semi-rhythmic ambience, evoking an almost theatrical atmosphere at times. The album alternates between caustic, raw black metal strophes similar to the early 90’s style and prolonged, semi-rhythmic ambient pieces that loom large and cavernous with echoing clangs, distorted vocals, and fading howls as the main components. The first few times through this format is admittedly disappointing, but with an open mind and time one develops an appreciation for the approach, which is actually rather unique and refreshing.

However, it is the songs, few though they may be, that really draw the album together. ‘Gleipnirs Smeder’ develops a strongly tribal theme through intoned vocalizations: gravely, nearly spoken phrases, and dirge-like folk harmonies supplement the de rigueur black metal standard. At its best, the album slips from ambience to music almost imperceptibly, blurring the distinction between the two and drawing the listener into a state of hypnotic submission.

As one could imagine, ‘Gleipnirs Smeder’ is not an album easily recommended. It’s abstract nature makes it difficult to dig into, and its short duration combined with the prevalence of ambience will likely fend off many potential listeners.

Those, though, who enjoy the more hypnotic side of Gorgoroth or the more experimental side of black metal, will likely be pleased by this promising duo’s debut.



--Etiam 09.02.06
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: JOTUNSPOR
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Gleipnirs SmederJotunspor
2006
Etiam9/8/2006


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