Jotunspor - Gleipnirs Smeder - Candlelight Records USA 2006
Running Time: 35:22
The title track begins with the sound of a blackmith's hammer striking an anvil, reminiscent of AC/DC's bell in "Highway To Hell", but infinitely more evil. This is our first exposure to Jotunspor, the duo comprised of former Gorgorothians King Ov Hell and skinpounder, Kvitrafn - both also doing time in doom patrol Sahg -, and already one can see two distinct personalities at work. One of said personalities is lo-fi Gjendersfel devastation fit to pound its way through Heaven's gates, the other being Burzumic / Havohej black ambience, sustained chords hanging in the air like meathooks as Jotunspor conjures their own vision of Hell. With what could be called the sensibility of classical music, the blacksmith's strikings still peal incessantly to the end of "Gleipnirs Smeder", hammering away just this side of your consciousness. "Svartalvheims Djup" takes shape with a dissonant thrum, like the sluggish gait of a passing beast just beyond dream, making it clear that Jotunspor is more about creating a mood than kicking out some headbang-worthy tuneage for all the recent Dimmu Borgir fans. Hate rises from the tar-black depths of "Solartjuven", wrath-laden riffs wreaking havoc on the senses with chanted beckonings leading you down a false path of promised redemption only to find you're more fucked than ever. Just when you think you've got King and Kvitrafn pegged, out comes "Freke Han Renn…", a rampaging motherfucker of Darkthrone homage veering from drunken plod to ripping, slavering hostility, all jackhammer drums and bass strings made of human tendon. "Sol Mun Svartne" continues the warlust, the intensity nearly unbearable when cranked to full blast on a pair of headphones, King's vocals running the gamut from Hellish yowl to ritual intonation. Jotunspor used the first half of Gleipnirs Smeder to draw us slowly into their world, but now with "Ginnungapagalder", it's clear that they seem intent on bludgeoning with ashen annihilation. Not that the prior ambience has been left behind - I mean, the whole unblessed thing sounds as if it was recorded in one of the caves surrounding Norway's coast, looking out onto the deadly, violent ocean. "Idkrig" brings the warriors home in true battlemarch fashion, martial and militant rhythms keeping time for triumphal chants borne on a blood tide of droning chords and malevolence.
Quite simply, there hasn't been anything this convincingly old-school since the old-school was new. Brutal, frigid, and pissed off about it.