Despite being around since 2001, “Djevelsvart” is only the third full length release from Norwegian Folk Metal act Glittertind. Previously the vehicle of sole member Torbjørn Sandvik, we now see the line-up increased to a sextet, which hasn’t heralded a great shift in the band’s sound, but the variety of styles explored on “Djevelsvart” is a clear indication that Sandvik and his band of merry men are anxious to differentiate themselves from the crop of Folk/Viking acts that are unable or unwilling to let go of cliché.
Armed with a healthy appreciation of Punk Rock, Glittertind have always stood out from the crowd and their merging of this with traditional Norwegian instrumentation and more standard Metal themes has long endeared them to the underground. The title track, which opens the album, is a perfect representation of these styles. Imagine Kvelertak covering a Pennywise song and you should have an idea of where the band is coming from. ‘Sundriven’ demonstrates what an accomplished singer Sandvik is with his confident melodic tones making the Norwegian language which the entire album is sung in come alive.
Another aspect of Glittertind that has long appealed is their firm rejection of far-right politics and their use of Punk as a force in combating it. The driving rhythms of ‘Sprekk for Sol’, written in memory of a murdered political activist are upbeat and quirky, complete with some 50s sci-fi sound effects thrown in for good measure instead of solemn mourning. That’s not to say the band can’t take anything seriously, as the mature folk ballad of ‘Kvilelaus’ demonstrates with classy ease.
Quite simply, no two songs on “Djevelsvart” sound the same. ‘Trollbunden’ is a jaunty, upbeat piano-lead number that wouldn’t be out of place in a mainstream jazz club, as could the pure lounge pop of ‘Nymaane.’ But just in case you were worried this was going to turn into a Jools Holland love-in, the energetic riffs return for ‘Taaketanker’ which has the whole band firing on all cylinders.
One of the most diverse and entertaining albums you are likely to hear in ages, “Djevelsvart” may surprise some with its lack of heaviness and eagerness to embrace more mainstream musical sounds, but this works in its favour and shows how confident the musicians are in their playing. We could have done with a couple more raging numbers but with this amount of variety it’s practically impossible to get bored. Let’s just hope that we don’t have to wait another four years for the next one!