Band: Baldrs Draumar
Release Date: 22nd November 2019
Record Label: Unsigned
Another EPK I got towards the end of last year, and unfortunately another one I didn’t get around to listening to until recently. Apologies to Baldrs Draumar for the lateness of this review! I had seen high praise for this album on other review sites, so I was excited to have a listen.
The entire album is performed in Frisian, so with other than a basic understanding that this album is a concept album based on the warrior Magnus, I had no idea what to expect except and was going to be heavily relying on the feel of the music to determine how the tale was progressing.
Friso starts with strings that at first to me sounded like Celtic war horns. I am definitely not giving this as a criticism, I love the haunting sound of these horns, and the atmosphere they produce, so to be able to get this from strings is amazing. There are also bagpipes and a good amount of throat singing. Mixed in with the more traditional sounds, we get heavy riffs, blast beats, and harsh vocals. The mix sounds full and balanced.
A more folky start, Toh Alden Fahne still has a heavy feel to it, even with the use of flute. IT’s a perfect mix of folk and metal with neither overpowering the other, and a beautiful choral a capella vocal at the end. There is a heavy background to Of Slogma The Saxum, but there is spoken word, and a flute melody that is more prominent, there are also clean vocals in the chorus. This track definitely has more emphasis on the folk elements.
Even further into the folk rabbit hole is Ferbline, Ferballe, where we start off with a choral vocal of “Ohhhhh”, and there is a lot more clean vocal. Again we have a perfect mix of heavy metal, folk instruments and orchestral arrangements, with a more prominent use of brass. De Poarten Fan Rome has absolutely no indication of folk at the start, it comes in hard and heavy. But it is a tale of two halves, there are also sections where clean vocals and strings win out over the more traditional metal instruments.
Another deceptive track is Frij. Starting off with acoustic guitar and clean vocals, your ears are soon assaulted by heavy and fast metal with harsh vocals. The accordion is the most predominant folk instrument in this track, and it ends with the acoustic feel again, bring things back down to earth. Upstallesbâm has a more sinister feel to the instrumental, and is fast paced with a mix of harsh and clean vocals. As the track goes on, it gets more folky, and the pace slows down just enough so there’s a great opportunity for a nice little jig pit.
A track about the man himself, Magnus Forteman comes in hard and fast, using strings to build atmosphere and tension. There are again a mix of clean and harsh vocals, and a very sudden change to an acoustic section with strings. The track builds back up again, getting more and more aggressive. To end the album, we have another spoken word intro to Eala Frya Fresena, which has a heavier and more fast paced start after the speech, but then slows back down to a happy, jiggy pace with the accordion leading the folk melodies, and a clean vocal to end.
I wish I had heard this album last year when I first got the EPK. But, as many of you know, real life wasn’t great for me, and so these things needed to be put aside while I focused on myself and the work that pays me money. I think this would have been up there in my favourite albums of 2019 if I’d reviewed it last year. I can hear a mix of Vanaheim and Ensiferum in the instrumentals and lyrics at times, and both of those bands are in my playlist rotation a lot, so there’s no complaints from me. From a personal point of view, there aren’t any tracks that particularly stand out to me from the album, although each song is great on its own merits, and that’s why my verdict score isn’t up to a 9 or more.
Baldrs Draumar are definitely a band you need to check out if you’re into your folk metal!
Buy BAND music and merch: https://baldrsdraumar.bigcartel.com/
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BAND website: http://www.baldrsdraumar.com/