AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Lumsk – Fremmede Toner (2023; Dark Essence Records)

At first blush, I assumed that Lumsk was a relatively new seven-member Scandinavian folk / prog / metal band, and that Fremmede Toner was their debut or maybe second album. But upon further research, Lumsk was founded almost 25 years ago, though the band has spent the last decade-and-a-half on hiatus between album three and this, their fourth album.

If anything, Lumsk is a metal band first, with plenty of signature power chords, as well as keyboard and violin. Despite the presence of two guitars, there is little in the way of soloing, and instead the instruments combine with vocals to set forth darkly lyrical atmospheres. In other words, the metal is folk-inflected. The vocals are mainly from Mari Klingen, but certain songs combine her efforts with call-and-response lines from an uncredited male vocalist.

One of the more interesting aspects of the album is how it came about. The pieces are inspired by poems of André Bjerke as well as his translations of works from other poets. The songs are based on Norwegian translations, but also the original English and German versions. Thus, some of the songs repeat lyrics in different languages but the accompanying music is different.

All in all, Fremmede Toner has a modern and energetic feel, more along the lines of Nightwish and Within Temptation than, say, Genesis. The music is of moderate complexity, quite heavy, and tastefully arranged. It is catchy without being cliche and strangely emotional as well.