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On disc: Nattsmyg

Fylgja - Mike Thompson - 9 stars


(Unexploded Records - 2011)

Formed in 2005, Nattsmyg is a one man folk / Viking band. The brainchild of Dan Heikenberg, Nattsmyg uses a lot of session musicians, not least of which is female vocalist Linn Carlshaff. Fylgja is the third full-length and has been four years in the making.

Although I've described it as folk / Viking metal above even this general term does not really describe the sound of Nattsmyg. I guess I would describe it as something more like Vintersorg although not so much with the progressive elements.

Vocally, the band uses the old beauty and the beast formula but with Linn Carlshaff's clean voice not being operatic, nor classical, the whole tired style is given a breath of life. Carlshaff has a very pleasant voice with a haunting quality of the type that you could imagine singing traditional folk songs around a campfire. In contrast, Heikenberg's growling vocals add some metal bite to proceedings, even though I would say the quality of his growling was nothing to write home about.

This is a beautifully orchestrated album that draws you in with gorgeous melodies; a soundtrack to nature itself almost. One of the stand out tracks for me is Skepnaden Vid Sjn. This song sounds like the kind of grand theme tune you'd expect from a Final Fantasy soundtrack and also nods its head at Basil Poledouris' Conan the Barbarian soundtrack in parts with a lovely melody that sounds similar to The Orgy. This is true epic grandeur with non of the bombast of many bands who strive to create this feel in their music.

Fylgja is a fantastic album that should appeal to a wide cross-section of music fans, even non-metalheads. Sticking this on in the garden on a hot summer's day and cracking open a cold one would be perfection.

9 stars

Mike Thompson


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