Metal Monument: Ásmegin - Hin Vordende Sod & Sø

Band: Ásmegin
Album: "Hin Vordende Sod & Sø"
Style: Black/viking/folk metal
Release date: 2003-10-14
Origin: Norway

1. Af Helvegum
2. Bruderov Paa Hægstadtun
3. Huldrandans - Hin Grønnkledde
4. Til Rondefolkets Herskab
5. Over Ægirs Vidstragte Sletter
6. Slit Livets Baand
7. Efterbyrden
8. Op Af Bisterlitjernet
9. Vargr I Véum - Eilivs Bane
10. Blodhevn
11. Valgalder

Record cover:
A grotesquely ugly witch with a sinister look stirs around in a cauldron and looks like shes throwing something into it with her other hand. Around her a myriad of small demon-like imps moves around. The autumn leaves are falling and the moon is full. Everything carefully hand painted in smoothing colors. This alone makes a quite amazing cover. But then there's also the deal with the actual album title "Hin Vordende Sod Og Sø" - which sounds so god damn cool, but what does it really mean?
"The Prospective Broth & Soup" - that's what it means...

1. Af Helvegum (02.46)
God damn this record starts out in the best way possible! The riffing, keyboards, dark growls, female vocals, screams from hell, aggression and folk music in a delightful packaging.
And then it comes - just like that - 1 minute and 38 seconds in the song, perhaps the world's greatest combination of violins and heavy riffing. And shortly thereafter - around 2 minutes - there we have an even better combination of the two. No doubt about it.
This deserves a full score if a song ever did it!

2. Bruderov Paa Hægstadtun (03.43)
In the beginning this song smells evilishly black metal, but soon crosses over into joyful folkmetal in a way that I haven't heard on any other album ever in history. And that's really the key to this entire album - the combination of the merry and the sinister is what Ásmegin does absolutely best. Just listen around 01.45 and you'll know what I mean. Superb!

3. Huldrandans - Hin Grønnkledde (04.07)
This song really sticks out on this album - partly due to the fact that it is a ballad, but also because there's only female vocals here. Personally, this is far from a favorite track on the album, even if they have made this whole "trollish folk-music-sounding ballad" in the exact right way. The thing is that when I think of  "Hin Vordende Sod Og Sø", I primary think of action and speed - black metal mixed with folk metal - which is something that one obviously wont find here.
It is a very good song indeed, but I am still a bit sceptic.

4. Til Rondefolkets Herskab (04.44)
This is the song that the band made a really dorky and very homemade video to. Even though one has to brace oneself with the embarrassing-pillow while watching, I can understand why they chose this particular track for a video, as the song is very catchy, filled with dynamics and represents the album as a whole in a very good way.
When the vocals start there is an entire cacophony of voices which I totally worship. The combination of growls, Lars Nedland's clean voice, male choirs and Sareetas "su-da-di-du" chanting is pure gold. It is hard not to love Lars' voice and even though I worship him in his "main" band Solefald, I have never heard him fit so perfectly as he does on this album. Also, the desperate speech-vocals from Sareeta around 02.54 also deserves an honorable mention.

5. Over Ægirs Vidstragte Sletter (03.44)
Lars Nedland-choirs times eight has the honor of starting this epic. Nothing wrong with that of course. Once the song kicks around, one is fooled into thinking we are sub-whelmed with some sort of midtempo. But the pace slowly increases and climaxes with a wonderful violin-melody that meets the cozy bass around 01.43.
All in all, this song is not so evil-sounding as previous tracks and we also, for the first time, seriously hear the problem that this album has with it's drum sound.

6. Slit Livets Baand (01.32)
Ásmegin 2003
Alright, so here we are then - the mandatory instrumental interlude. I tend to skip most of these on most of my favorite albums, although some might be alright anyway. I have heard everything from acoustic somber guitars do their thing to evil-sounding keyboards and female choirs fucking things up. Ásmegin chose a sinister keyboard that lurks around the corner with a somewhat semi-success. Nothing in particular wrong with that, but then out of the fucking blue it comes - children's screams!
Seriously - how the fuck did they reason here!? "Yes, our drummer has recently become a father. Good for him. How about having his newborn son on "internal womb screams" on our debut album?"
God idea lads...

7. Efterbyrden (05.06)
The infernal (not meant in a positive way) children's screams follows from "Slit Livets Baand" into the beginning of this one as well. But as opposed to the former track, Ásmegin shows that they despite everything possess enough brains to understand that the listener needs some speed and a breath of fresh air after the just mentioned song.
Here we get insanely fast chattering drums in combination with lovely violin-melodies - just as it should be in other words. Despite the song might being a little too long for it's own good it is not bad in any way. Just a bit more mediocre than some of the other gold-tracks on this album.

8. Op Af Bisterlitjernet (03.41)
A dance-friendly, folkish and joyful upbeat tune. That is, until the beeswarm-riffing and hellish drums begins. God damn I love the dynamics on this album! And I really don't have that much else to say - this is Ásmegin in a nutshell.

9. Vargr I Véum - Eilivs Bane (03.42)
This is easily this album's greatest contender to the first track "Af Helvegum". We have guitar-melodies to die for, Sareetas "su-di-da", Lars wondrous song, violin-shredding and of course a large handful of heart wrenching hell-screams.
I cannot go any lower than a top score on this one since it has every ingredient I love about this album!

10. Blodhevn (06.19)
A very long (measured in the Ásmegin-world anyway) song that starts very carefully with fair violins and a soft piano. But it only takes a mere minute until the pace is quickened and before you know it - it is black metal for the most part. Dynamics is the word yes - have I said that before? This is one of the few times that the band uses a more traditional chorus and it is actually incredibly refreshing to hear that.
"Blodhevn" is without a doubt Lars Nedland's absolutely greatest moment on the album and the closing choir and "I-sing-over-myself" is so adorable that I get goosebumps each time I hear it. Listen for yourself when there's about a minute left of the song.

11. Valgalder (03.30)
I can personally think that this might be a bit too careful conclusion to an album this phenomenal. This is a new version of the song that could be found on the bands first (and only) demo "Naar Rimkalkene Heves". It is absolutely not a bad song, but it is so much more timid than most of the other songs on the album. Pretty much only clean vocals and barely any screams at all. The black metal riffing also lacks with it's presence here.
Surely it is beautiful as hell, but I would have rather placed this tune earlier on the album had I been a member of Ásmegin and finished with "Vargr I Véum" or "Blodhevn".

End rating:
It is absolutely impossible to give "Hin Vordende Sod Og Sø" a full score. And yes, it has to do with those incredibly annoying children's screams which might just be the turn-off of the century. Then there's also the drum sound which leaves quite a lot to desire. Other than that, there's absolutely nothing to complain on when it comes to this masterful debut album.
There's not much either to add if you've read my song-by-song review above. Dynamics is still the keyword when it comes to this recording. If you have just a little, little thing for either folk- or black metal you owe it to yourself to give "Hin Vordende Sod Og Sø" an honest chance.

"I begsorte Fieldkamre bløde, hvor Myriader af Øine vil gløde
over kristenblodig Hold forkunn til hin vordende Sod og Sø
Bragt til Rondefolkets Herskab, saa mellem Afaat og Troldskab,
stiller Aases Enbaarne hen om at ægte Trolddrottins fagreste Mø"

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