Label: Season of Mist Release date: November 6, 2020
Swedish folk-rockers GARMARNA have been around for 30 years, won a Swedish Grammy award and cultivated a following in their homeland and internationally. Originally GARMARNA formed as a trio in 1990 featuring guitarist/violinist Gotte Ringqvist, violinist/hurdy gurdy player Stefan Brisland-Ferner, and guitarist/bassist Rickard Westman. After a couple of years they added drummer Jens Hoglin and singer / violinist Emma Hardelin and have remained in this formation since then.
‘Förbundet’ is their seventh studio album, blurring traditional Swedish folk songs, Estonian chorales, medieval and murder ballads and modern Electro / industrial / Goth plus the often multi-tracked vocals of Emma Hardelin. A ballad from the 1700s, “Ramunder” can sound like an acoustic metal tune, featuring Anders Norudde from Hedningarna playing moraharpa (a cousin of the hurdy gurdy). Other tracks are quite danceable, e.g. “Lussi Lilla”. Some tracks have a melancholic or even dark undertone, like the acoustic ballad “Ur Världen Att Gå” and the vocal track “Din Grav” – could be straight from the score of „Vikings“ TV series. “Vägskäl” is the one completely original song on the album and the newest one, about life’s crossroads, grief, and losing someone, and also memories that are slowly erased or that can last a lifetime.
Garmarna’s concept is a bit like Qntal, maybe overall less symphonic (although Avskedet is quite epic as well), more „campfire-intimate“, all very catchy, pleasing, instant ear candy, inviting to timetravel into medieval times or just to hit the (home) dance floor, imagining it’s a Goth disco. In case you need to compensate for festivals like M’era Luna or Leipzig’s annual Gothic gathering, this CD puts you into this mood, and with some imagination puts you right there…
Emma Härdelin: Vocals, violin
Stefan Brisland-Ferner: Violin, Viola, Hurdy gurdy, Keyboards, Nordic bowed lyre, Kantele, Moraharpa, Mouth harp, Electronics, Electric guitar, Mandolin, Backing vocals
Gotte Ringqvist: Acoustic guitar, Hardanger fiddle, backing vocals
Rickard Westman: Electric guitar, Electric bass
Jens Höglin: Drums, Percussion, Electronics
Maria Franz: Vocals on ”Två Systrar”
Anders Norudde: Moraharpa on ”Ramunder”
Ulf Gruvberg: Vocals on ”Lussi Lilla”