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HAMNSKIFTE - Fdzlepijan

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Myrkr 1-2012
Release Year: 2012
Note: the only album so far by a mysterious (black metal inspired) anonymous Swedish duo who mix medieval folk music with ambient and drone metal guitars... as a whole rather restrained compositions with a focus on acoustic folk guitar work and ethereal drones...
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €12.00

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"First record from a mysterious Swedish duo, whose sound is inspired by, according to the band themselves, Burzum, Earth, Skepticism, Nortt and Trollmann Av Ildtoppberg. But imagine those influences channeled into something more medieval sounding, and WAY more post rocky, a sort of droning medieval slowcore laid beneath softly buzzing metallic rumble and shimmer, and you'll get an idea of Hamnskifte's sound. This is drone and ultimately slow meditative Black Metal with hypnotic medieval folk melodies recorded with guitars, drums, bass, organ, bodhran drum, bells and some self-invented percussion instruments. Originally released to the world in the spring of 2010 by, now-defunct, American label Starlight Temple Society, as a limited edition of 125 copies." [label info]


"Fodzlepijnan first appeared on the now-defunct Starlight Temple Society label back in 2010 as a limited-edition CDR release (we still have a couple of copies of this version in stock, as a matter of fact), and it offered a beautifully eerie and ghostly collection of funereal folk-rock and desolate, doom-laden slowcore from the mysterious Swedish duo known as Hamnskifte. The band seemed to have roots in both funeral doom and black metal (indeed, the band cited the likes of Nortt, Burzum, Trollmann Av Ildtoppberg, Earth and Skepticism as direct influences on their music), but their music didn't really sound like either of those forms, and in fact only marginally sounded like a metal band at all. Instead, Hamnskifte craft this strange sound that is more "post-rock" than anything, a mysterious, low-fi sound that creeps across the album using hand-made percussive instruments, organs, bells, and bodhran drums alongside their standard rock lineup of drums, guitar and bass. That original disc really impressed me when we first picked it up, and it's haunting blackened slowcore sound filled the office here at C-Blast for weeks after we picked it up. While the original Starlight Temple CDR came in a handmade package that consisted of a screen-printed silver envelope, an eight page booklet and foldout poster and was limited to just one hundred twenty five copies, the new CD version of Fodzlepijnan that just came out on the black metal label Myrkr presents the album in a handsome new six-panel digi-sleeve that includes a printed vellum inner sleeve for the disc.
At first, Fodzlepijnan opens with a brief intro of wheezing harmonium and martial snares playing a slow, haunting folky melody, the sound very neo-folkish and atmospheric, and that leads right into the first proper song, "Ther Skall Wara Grt Och Tandagnisslan". It's here that Hamnskifte fully unfurls their sound, a combination of tranquil, almost funereal drumming that incorporates other shuffling percussive instruments into it's deliberate, processional-like tempos, moody strummed chords that seem to be emanating from sort of banjo-like stringed instrument, and swells of lush feedback and distorted guitar. The band weaves these sounds together into simple, dark melodies that sound more like something from Swans than anything vaguely black metallish. But there's also that doom-laden creepiness that lurks beneath the surface of these melancholy folk-dirges, a subdued heaviness heard in those slow-motion drums, waves of vast keyboard drift and that buzzing harmonium-like drone that makes a reappearance, and the deeper you get into this, the more that you can hear the band's admitted Skepticism influence, a vague funeral doom quality to this music that you hear more in the atmosphere and pace of the music than in any overt metallic qualities. It's all some surprisingly beautiful stuff, in fact. The following song "Wsende" might be my favorite, another instrumental piece that resembles some particularly gloomy, darkened 70's psych-folk, with some of the prettiest acoustic guitar arrangements on the album, laid out over delicate droning organs and that slow, shuffling backbeat. Further in, the sound starts to get heavier as some muffled distorted guitars creep into "Foglarna Warda Fngna Medh Snaror", lending an undercurrent of clanging, doom-laden rumble to the song's hauntingly pretty folk melody and stretches of ghostly, cavernous drone. "Dageligh Beredelse Emoot Dden" has a more ominous feel, death-march drums and minor key jangle woven into a Goblin-esque groove, and closer "Uthi Thet Ytterste Mrckret" unfolds into a twelve minute kosmische trance of pounding tribal drums and slithering bass, moody acoustic strum draped over droning keyboards and sheets of electrical hum, the album closing within the sway of this last krautrock-tinged hypno-trance. Highly recommended." [CrucialBlast]