Friday, 29 January 2016

Garmarna ‎– Guds Spelemän (1996)


Country: Sweden

1. Herr Mannelig 06:22
2. Vänner Och Fränder 05:11
3. Halling Från Makedonien 02:45
4. Min Man 04:20
5. Varulven 04:33
6. Hilla Lilla 06:19
7. Drew Drusnaar / Idag Som Igår 02:46
8. Njaalkeme 05:03
9. Herr Holger 04:38
10. Guds Spelemän 03:27

Garmarna was formed in 1990 in Sundsvall, Sweden.
Stefan Brisland-Ferner, Gotte Ringqvist and Rickard Westman were inspired by old Swedish music 

and Olov Johansson's musical score for a production of Shakespeare's Hamlet.
After a year of playing together and
searching for old tunes and instruments, Jens Höglin joined the band on drums.
In 1992 the band recorded their self titled first EP. 

They thought that female vocals would provide a contrast to the dark mood of their music and invited Emma Härdelin
a long-time friend of the band, as the guest vocalist on the EP. 
She officially joined the band in 1993. The debut EP sold well in Sweden, and helped the band tour in Scandinavia.
On the album Vittrad, the band decided to add samples and sequencers to the mix. 

In 1994, Omnium released Vittrad in the USA, with English translations of the old songs.
Garmarna started a long German tour and released the album Guds Spelemän (The Fiddlers Of God) in 1996. 

The album sold well in Sweden and was reviewed favourably internationally.
It received the Swedish Grammy award as Album of the Year.
In 1998 Garmarna did a series of concerts in churches in the North of Sweden presenting their interpretation 

of the medieval works of Hildegard of Bingen, together with actress Felicia Konrad.
In 1999 the band released their third album Vedergällningen

The album leaned towards rock and trip hop with the atmosphere of the music being more obscure than in previous works.
Following Vedergällningen, the band returned to the studio to complete their Hildegard Von Bingen album in 2001. 

The tracks are based on the compositions of 12th century German abbess Hildegard of Bingen, and the lyrics are in Latin.
In 2015, it was reported that the band was working on a new album.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Potentiam ‎– Bálsýn (1999)


Country: Iceland

1. To Know Is To Die 11:34
2. The Pleasures Of Suffering 06:42
3. Voices Within 05:36
4. In Unity 03:53
5. Álfablóð 04:07
6. Látum Oss Biðja 05:37
7. My Journey Into Darkness 03:18
8. Sorcery 05:47
9. Flames Of Potentiam 05:26

Potentiam is an atmospheric-dark-black metal band from Iceland, formed in '97 when Eldur and Forn joined forces.
Eldur (Curse, Fortíð, Midnattsvrede) had been writing material for his band Thule which was formed in '95.
Forn started a project on his own in '96. Eldur joined him and few months after that, 
G.Ó. Pálmason from Sólstafir came along and Hel was born.Hel recorded 4 songs in a low budget studio.
Soon after that, Eldur and Forn decided to work together and form a project with deeper perspectives, 
thus Potentiam was given birth in September '97.
Ten tracks were written and recorded in a small private studio and released early in February '98.
The demo was entitled "Bálsýn" and was released in only 50 copies.
One of those copies went to Avantgarde Music/Wounded Love rec. and they showed interest and offered a record deal.
G.Ó. Pálmason joined again as a session drummer and their debut album, entitled also "Bálsýn", released in August '99.
After this release,a long dead period came along while Potentiam was developing and looking for a new drummer.
In '00 they finally found an drummer that joined in only for their next album " Orka I Myrkri " that released in '04.
Another long period was ahead for the band as they almost gave up hope 
of ever finding another new drummer on their small Icelandic soil.
It wasn't until in '05 that G.Ó. Pálmason joined the band once again and things started to look promising for the future.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Swartalf – Candles Burning Blue (1996)


Country: Holland

1. Invocation 04:03
2. Nervengeist 11:24
3. The Shadow Gods 05:59
4. Leviathan Rising 12:19
5. Tears On Shutters 03:43
6. The Heart 04:43

Swartalf was a project from Holland that remained somewhat of a mystery. 
The only known member was named Count Ycklagh
but it was believed that musicians from some famous black metal bands were involved.
A statement on the Phallus Dei Official facebook page appeared on 17 March 2015 stating: 
"Swartalf was Richard Van Kruysdijk's dark ambient project."
Richard van Kruysdijk (drummer/multi-instrumentalist/producer/composer) is most known 
for his work with German eclectic industrial band Phallus Dei and many other musical projects.
The debut album, "Candles Burning Blue", that released by Memento Mori in 1996, 
was an impressive combination of ambient electronics, neoclassical strings and a touch of droning riffing.
The second album, "The Golden Section", released in 2000, showed a more powerful sound, 
topped by crunching guitars and massive industrial metal percussion, combined with bombastic orchestral arrangements 
and gothic poetry recited by hellish male vocals countered by heavenly female chants.