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Lumsk - Troll CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.94 | 9 ratings

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4 stars It's funny how you can stumble across new music. Not long ago I was researching Hungarian bands after listening to Korai Orom and I came across the band After Crying. One of their tracks, Bevezetes, got me enamored with Gregorian chants and beautiful operatic vocals used in a prog setting. That led me to discover a genre referred to as Prog Viking Metal. Who knew there was such a thing? (Obvious answer: not me!)

The Viking Metal genre led me to the Norwegian band Lumsk, and their Troll album (among others). Troll is by far my favorite album of theirs, as it has a nice balance of metal, vocals, prog, and Norwegian folk influences.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a big fan of metal, but its usage on this album is not far from what can be found on many hard rock songs. It is largely absent from many tracks, but when it appears, it's not too harsh or overbearing. Enough, perhaps, for the metal enthusiasts, but not so much as to turn off those who shy away from it.

The vocals, all sung in Norwegian, include both female and male singers. The female vocals, provided by the classically trained, award-winning soprano, Stine Mari Langstrand, are soaring and operatic in some instances, softer and folksier in others. Absolutely engaging and beautiful, her vocals are the highlight of the album.

Male vocals are provided by Andreas Kjerkol Elvenes and Steinar 'rdal. They have a deep, dark characteristic, which at times reminds me of Deluge Grander (August in the Urals), but more melodic.

Throw in some Mellotron and Hammond organ here and there, good splashes of violin, and some interesting arrangements, and the music pushes into prog (folk) territory.

The songs on the album tell different stories about trolls and spirits in Norwegian folklore. A lyrical excerpt from the first track (translated to English) reads: "The N'kk, he sits a-playing. Can you hear the fiddle go? From the river you hear the melody. It's the evil that here reigns."

The track entitled "Allvis", in my opinion, is the best on the album. At one point, a Norwegian story teller (Stian Hovland Pedersen) chimes in, and I immediately picture a rugged, sea-faring Norwegian salt with a well-weathered face, replete with tattered cap and homemade pipe, relating a story of a troll he's encountered on one of his harrowing journeys. The whole piece is an addicting drug that I can't stop listening to. But that's just me...

This is an totally engaging album. Whether you like a little metal in your prog, or enjoy drop-dead gorgeous vocals, you're sure to enjoy this performance. A good starting point if you're unfamiliar with Lumsk, or Prog Viking Metal, I give it 4-1/2 stars (rounded down because I can't give a half-star, and I don't dole out perfect 5's very often).

wiz_d_kidd | 4/5 |


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