Vera : When we reviewed the debut album ’Blodshymner’ in 2014, we already mentioned that Swedish Grimner was a band to keep an eye on. For this sophomore album ‘Frost Mot Eld’ (‘Ice Against Fire’) they have inked a deal with Despotz Records. Thus they are ready to take the next step in their conquest of Europe. All lyrics are in Swedish language and the concept deals with Nordic mythology, finally ending in the end battle Ragnarök. The six-piece wears traditional clothes and includes a musician specialized in folk instruments. That’s why we hear flutes, Swedish bagpipes and mandola in the battle-like songs.
Grimner has developed and perfected the style they introduced on the debut, resulting in more compact songs with catchier and more inciting flavour. The harsh vocals of founder/guitarist Ted Sjulmark are intermittent in every song with the clean chants of rhythm guitarist Marcus Brattberg. These clean vocals are more momentous and pompous now from time to time. That is the reason why the flawless opener ‘Res Er Mina Söner’ reminded me a bit of Menhir. But Grimner also has some similarities with Finntroll (keyboard use), Månegarm (and not only because they sing in Swedish) and Ensiferum (not afraid of a catchy folk song). The first single ‘Eldhjärta’ (relished with an amazing video) is a sure-fire example of that, yet ‘Enhärjarkväde’ and second single ‘Midgård Brinner’ will cause fuss in a live situation as well. Most of the songs are tight and up-tempo. Among the more momentous and epic tracks are ‘Vargarnas Tid’ (starting with piano) and the occluding title track with its contemplative speech. This album – recorded at Berghem Studios with engineer Alexander Oriz – happens to be rough yet very melodic and graced with a couple of great guitar solos. They are a bit lighter and less complex than Månegarm and Finntroll, but never fall into dull drinking songs. The beautiful cover was done by Jan Yrlund. This album is worth checking out by every pagan metal fan. Release date: 25th of March.