Two years after their debut full-length work, Viking folk metallers Grimner from Motala, Sweden are back with their new album, entitled “Blodshymner“. It all started in 2008, when 6 musicians from several parts of Sweden decided to join forces and begin their Viking journey. After the debut EP “A Call for Battle” in 2010 the band became active on gigs, gaining positive feedback. In 2012 they self-released the debut album “Färd“, something between full-length and EP, since its 6 songs last for only 30 minutes. This album helped them spread their music and play on even more gigs. The band managed to sign to the Russian label Stygian Crypt Productions and on March 2014 “Blodshymner” was out.
In its relatively short life so far, the band has changed a lot of things. There were important changes between the first EP and “Färd“, since Grimner improved a lot their raw sound, they started writing all lyrics in Swedish and they also introduced original traditional instruments. Their music got a much folksier turn and it was obvious that the band was still searching its identity. Well, ”Blodshymner” is a huge step forward for the band, and I think this should be considered as their first complete full-length work. Its 10 songs last for over 52 minutes, while two of them are new versions of tracks originally on “Färd“. The band has a much more natural sound this time and they are really improved technically, both in guitars and folk instruments. They are clearly influenced by the characteristic Swedish folk metal sound that was flourishing some years ago and by Nordic folk metal in general, bringing great bands of the genre in mind. Their epic folk Viking metal is characterized by the use of many traditional instruments and their rich orchestrations. Apart from flutes, that have the leading role in the melodies, they also use mandola, mouth-harp and horns, combined with epic keyboards. Their guitars are often following or accompanying the folk tunes, while sometimes times they are having a more rhythmic epic role. Grimner have a very natural, still quite raw sound, and they sing mostly with epic brutal vocals, combined with some clean male folk vocals. Their compositions move from typical folk metal to more aggressive folk black death metal and Viking metal, while there are also some slower acoustic passages. One can find a lot of variety in their music and at the same time a solid atmosphere throughout the whole album. I believe though things could be even greater with a better production, a bigger variety in the vocals in general and a slight improvement in the clean vocals. Lyrics are in their native language dealing about Nordic Viking mythology, included in the CD booklet.
This new album is for sure Grimner’s most serious effort to put their ideas and influences in an order and at the same time to built a personal sound. They still need more work in my opinion, but they seem to be on the right path. If you are into epic folk and at times aggressive Viking metal, you better give them a listen. “Blodshymner” is released via Stygian Crypt in a standard jewel-case CD edition with 12-page booklet. The epic cover artwork is by Jan Yrlund (Darkgrove Design), who once again did a marvelous job. You can follow their official pages below for more info and sound samples.