Grimner arrive in 2016 with their second studio album ‘Frost Mot Eld’ and for those less familiar with the Swedish six headed herd, this album represents a progression and further evolvement of the folk metal troupe. Born in 2008 Grimner have had various line ups over the years but both lead guitarist & vocalist Ted Sjulmark & drummer Henry Persson have been long standing members.
Through line up changes and hard work Grimner have released three EP’s. ‘A Call For Battle’ sung in English before a return to their native tongue in Swedish for ‘Färd’ – both released in 2010 & ‘De Kom Frän Norr’ in 2015. In the previous year 2014 the band released their first full length album ‘Blodshymner’ taking the band to new heights and announcing their intent in Europe. Pounding the pavements and ripping their way through crowds on European stages Grimner have worked tirelessly to be established as a force to be reckoned with, within the folk – metal genre supporting such acts as the legendary Korpiklaani during their shows in Sweden.
This has led us to 2016 and their blistering new album ‘Frost Mot Eld’ an old worldly style metal album that announces itself with great aplomb from its opening track ‘Re Er Mina Söner’ luring you immediately into a false sense of security with a melodic opening before a blistering guitar riff and lethal drums tell you what this band is all about. A real mix of rapid pace rhythms and tempo changes take you on a journey almost like a song within a song. Ted’s vocals are big and purposeful, whilst the song takes you back and forth between the melodic and the chaotic, with the double bass thrashing its way through the heavy rhythm of the songs roots. A strong opener and a taste of what Grimner are all about; strong melodic song writing and vicious, aggressive metal all in one package.
‘Eldhjärta’ is again another catchy, melodic tune with vocals switching back and forth between the growling Ted and rhythm guitarist Marcus again bringing you an easy on the ear song that flows quite nicely, unlike ‘Nordmännens Raseri’ which opens with a face-melter, fast-paced and heavy laced guitar riff. ’Enhärjarkväd’ opens with an almost familiar ‘Thin Lizzy’ Black Rose Trad guitar lead before its darker sounding undertones creep in leading us to ‘Midgärd Brinner’, a furiously energetic number – heavy and hard hitting.
‘Vargarnas Tid’ has a cracking deep seductive sound to it drawing you into its belly, and one you can just imagine live as the crowd chant its chorus. ’Mörkrets Hem’ strangely has an opening a bit like an Nickleback tune which threw me off a little as I was waiting on Chad Kroger breaking in on vocals! It leads us nicely to ‘Etter och Flammor’ – another furiously paced, hard hitting song full of beautifully played guitar and forever changing tempos to keep you engaged. ’Muspelheims Härskare’ is immediately a darker tune with a big fat backbone to it. Interlacing tempo changes and vocal styles with trad bridges carries you from end to end of this song before the albums closer and self- titled ‘Frost Mot Eld’ a worthy tune to bring this album to its finale.
Overall this is not a hard album to listen too, the very idea for some, of folk metal would be enough for them to simply overlook a band like Grimner, but I have to say they do what they do very well. Maybe it’s my Irish roots with bands like Thin Lizzy in my blood and their trad influenced rock that makes the progression to folk metal that more understandable, but I see similarities to other bands I listened to in my youth, the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen with his big keyboards and classically influenced rock/metal quite often slowing the pace down for the introduction of a classical guitar mid song. So Grimner with their melodic approach fusing the furious pace of thrash metal and traditional instruments just bring another flavour to the metal world and one that should not be overlooked.
‘Frost Mot Eld’ released on Despotz records is a well-produced album; easy on the ears and it will definitely take some of you out of your comfort zone. But isn’t that what it’s all about? Fans of Korpiklaani, Finsterforst and Heidevolk will no doubt embrace Grimner, now it’s just up to the rest of us to open our hearts to a passionate and honest group of guys doing what just speaks to them from their very core.
A record that’s a mix of the old and the new, hard-hitting, it’s an embracing all in one package. An enjoyable album all round.
Words by Mark McGrogan
01. Res Er Mina Söner
03. Nordmännens Raseri
05. Midgård Brinner
06. Vargarnas Tid
07. Mörkrets Hem
08. Etter och Flammor
09. Muspelheims Härskare
10. Frost Mot Eld