Bjørnar Selsbak // Rygteflom/Tunge Taarer
Rating: 4.0/5.0 — Tons of potential here
Release Dates: Out worldwide
So, a couple months ago I got Lumsk‘s debut Åsmund Frægdegjevar and I have to say that I was really impressed. It’s one of the most unique folk metal records I’ve ever heard. Slow, but the smart blending of progressive elements with traditional Norwegian folk music and the melodies was stellar. In fact, way better than their contemporaries in a lot of areas. However, I was soon informed to not check out the band’s later material, largely because the guitarist who had written the majority of it had left the band. This creativity, however, lives on in this single or EP (or whatever it is) released all these years later which is made up of two songs “Rygteflom” and “Tunge Taarer”.
A little bit of background, however, apparently the lyrics of this were written by Gjest Baardsen and adapted to music by the illustrious Bjørnar Selsbak. Gjest Baardsen is a bit of a folk legend in Norway, as a guy who escaped from prison a few times and was almost like a Norwegian Robin Hood [here's a Wikipedia link to the Norwegian entry on him, translated to English via Google Translate]. He apparently wrote books while he was in prison and the text here is taken from those, which is particularly brilliant.
The two songs are stylistically linked, but they are not identical by any means. The first, “Rygteflom” is actually the more traditional folk metal of the two. It has almost an Otyg feel in the riffing, but it’s very stripped and cleanly recorded. The mix is excellent and the use of operatic tenor Kristian Krokslett adds a beautiful feel to the track that gives it an anachronistic feel that really works. Heavy, this track is not, but neither was that first Lumsk record. Instead, this is much more about the feeling and excellent composition.
“Tunge taarer” is a much more anthemic song, in a way. It is a song of sorrows, (“Heavy Tears”) pain and it has a very strong undertone of melodrama. That said, the man was sitting in prison, so I guess it’s easy to understand why he was feeling a tad bad about his freedom being restricted. “Tunge taarer” also has a folk metal feel, but the chorus is much bigger and doesn’t have a strong folk melody, to it. Instead, it almost lands in the realm of musical theater, and that shoudn’t be taken as an insult at all.
Both songs clock in at a little over three minutes and show deft craftsmanship. Selsbak and company have definitely done a fine job on this material and I’m very interested in hearing a whole record of stuff of this style. This could easily be as successful and excellent as Lumsk‘s debut, which is one of the best folk metal records I own. I obviously don’t feel like I can say much beyond a 4/5 based only 7 minutes of music, but if you consider that I’ve been listening to it straight for an hour, it should give you an idea of how good it is. Definitely purchase this.