Last year I received Swedish folk-metallers Fejd‘s Napalm Records debut with great excitement. I had been listening to the band for a long time and was really impressed with their material in general. Their earlier demos I en tid som var and Huldran had both been constantly on my playlist since I downloaded them (and with good reason). But while I was not disappointed with Storm, the material didn’t blow me away as much as the earlier demos had. Maybe this was a “slump” or something, but it didn’t quite live up to those standards.
Eifur offers no such disappointment! This may be the strongest material that the band has produced up until now. For those of you not familiar with the band, Fejd is a folk metal band that distinctly lacks many of what people would consider to be the most “metal” part, the electric guitar. However, with heavy bass, drums and great instrumentation that fills out the sound there is still something that I think is distinctly “heavy” about these guys. Even though the band lacks that crunch that fills out most metal records these days and that guitar players desperately fight to get, Eifur is remarkably heavy. Not Meshuggah, but certainly not easy listening, either. But what really differentiates these guys from the “folk metal herd” as it were is that not only is their instrumentation quite authentic for Swedish folk music, but the tracks are just so damn well-constructed.
Up until now my favorite Fejd has definitely been I en tid som var, but this record not only includes my favorite track from that demo (“Arv” as well as another track “Yggdrasil”) but the new material is totally on that level. Other stand out tracks are numerous on the album (this is one of those records where you could recommend every track for different reasons). The track “Gryning” shows a perfect example of what makes these guys cool, starting out with a single stringed instrument and building to a classic metal gallop with pounding double bass before jumping into one of the catchiest choruses I’ve ever heard. Another excellent track is the closing one “TrollfÃ¤rd” which has a fantastic groove and an amazing range of instrumentation and arrangements, and doesn’t need a vocal track to be worth every second of your time (and multiple listens). And so on. And so forth. You get the picture.
I guess the only reason not to give this record a perfect score is because it’s not all new material and because it hasn’t had time to really grow on me yet. But I suspect that I’ll be coming back to this one for a long time, because it’s one of the most convincing “folk metal” offerings that I’ve ever heard. It reminds me of what I love about the classics (Storm, Otyg) but with a wider range of instrumentation and understanding of history of the music, which speaks to a sophistication that the earlier material simply didn’t have. So if you’re a fan of the genre this is definitely one I recommend because it will excite you. And if you’re a fan of the Swedish language I recommend this record for that purpose as well. Just watch out for falling ‘Ã¤ro:s’. *cough*