There are bands, musicians, and records out there that one can appreciate but not enjoy. Former Emperor vocalist Ihsahn has produced a few of these records and though I am not a fan of his music, I have much respect for his efforts over the years and consider him to be way beyond my pattern of thinking. His latest, Hardingrock, won’t last long in my CD player, but it may peak interest with others.

Hardingrock comes from the Norwegian national instrument, the Harding Fiddle. This project is an avant-grade Norwegian folk rock/metal extravaganza consisting of Ihsahn, his wife Heidi S. Tveitan (Star Of Ash, Peccatum), and well-known Norwegian fiddler Knut Buen. Those who have heard this couples previous endeavors will understand that
Grimen is an exotic venture to say the least. Set wholeheartedly in the cultural aspects of Norwegian folklore, this record is anything but usual. All lyrics are in Norwegian and each concept has its own distinctive voice that helps portray the message. Some are spoken passages, others are choir type female, and sometimes Ihsahn utilizes his harsher black metal vocals.

The sounds to be heard on Grimen are very native and authentic. When metal is presented you can hear the typical circus that is Ihsahn’s music. Symphonic, acoustic, and rather technical, Grimen is very hard to grasp on one listen. It’s pretty melancholic at times as well. Those looking for black metal, beware. There are only hints throughout the record. Most of this is best described as organic and hereditary. Needless to say, the atmosphere of this record puts you right in forest mode.

Most admirers of music in general will find genius in some of the stuff portrayed here.Though this is a challenging musical medium through heritage, I just cannot ever see myself liking this. It’s way off base for me. I do encourage you to listen though. This is unlike anything you have heard or probably will hear for a longtime. Word of advise, don’t eat any psychedelic drugs before you listen. It just might drive you over the edge.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
October 4th, 2007


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