Lumsk - Åsmund Frægdegjevar
Tabu Recordings
Folk Metal/Rock
13 songs (58:20)
Release year: 2003
Lumsk, Tabu Recordings
Reviewed by Thomas
Archive review

So, this is the mighty Lumsk I’ve been hearing LOADS about the last year or so. This is the first full-length released by this seven-piece from the small city of Trondheim in Norway. Almost everywhere I’ve read about them, they’ve gotten outstanding scores and reviews. This was clearly something I had to get my hands on pretty quick, as I’m a big fan of properly executed folk metal. Especially when they’re from my own country and since they’re including many elements from ancient and true Norwegian folk music, which I take much interest in. All of their songs are also sung in an elder version of the Norwegian language, and even I have trouble understanding some of the stuff here. I’ll take some time explaining the lyrical content later in the review. Two of my favorite genres blended together in an epic melting-pot? Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Do they live up to my huge expectations?

Well, first things first. This is a concept album about a medieval legend called Åsmund Frægdegjævar (or Aasmund Fraegdegjaevar if you must). And as much you’d like to believe that he is a mighty Viking out to plunder the Christian English-men, it’s quite the opposite. This is obviously taking place after the christening-wave that stroke our country after Olav the Holy became king. Anyway, Åsmund is out on a dangerous quest to free the princess from an evil troll-mother who has cursed her to believe that she is her true mother. I’ll leave the rest to your fantasy, but I’m pretty sure you’ll guess how it’ll turn out.

Now onto the music, this isn’t anywhere near the level I expected it to be. However, there are a few details here that shouldn’t be left unnoticed. The fact that Lumsk hired thirteen guest musicians to perform on this one is on the one hand a little suspect. On the other however, they make this seem much more real. They contribute with violins, choirs, flutes and cellos, which is stuff that could easily have been handled by a keyboard or some programming. Although it’s sometimes hard to tell a really good keyboard from the actual instruments, this here sounds incredibly clean. They’re wholly succeeding in capturing the essence of Norwegian folk music and especially when adding the stunning vocal performances of both the male and the female vocalists. The problem seems to be that they aren’t entirely capable of balancing this properly, as the overall metalized compositions are rather limited. The guitar sound is weak, and the drums don’t contain enough punch to lift this. The melodies are on the other hand very nicely executed, even though the songs seem a bit creatively pale after a while. Except for the incredible Ormin Lange this is more or less ranging from slow to mid-paced and it gets downright boring when there are no hooks, breaks or leads to clutch your attention.

As you’ve probably figured out by now, this gets pretty disappointing after the first couple of songs. It should however again be mentioned that this is their debut record, and they’re first real try to combine two completely different styles of music. This is a typical example on an often made mistake by young bands that try to be innovative. The ideas are downright awesome, but the execution and the progress regarding the converting of those brilliant ideas into practice failed to some extent. Lumsk have released two additional full-lengths which I’ll definitely check out for the sake of checking up on their development. Hopefully and most likely, they’ve taken a few steps in the right direction. They’re talented and this has despite all the different flaws in the machinery this has made a decent impression on me.

Killing Songs :
Ormin Lamge
Thomas quoted 68 / 100
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