DISCOVERY OF 2018 : GRIMNER
This year has easily been one in which I’ve discovered the most new music and delved deeper and further into the metal world. While Spotify very dutifully kept throwing new folk bands at me, the one that has really caught my attention this year has been Grimner, currently signed to a virtually-unknown Swedish label, Despotz Records. The band has just released their latest full-length studio album, Vanadrottning, this year, which marks their third release since the band was founded in 2008. Having gone through some turbulent times at the beginning of their career with a fair amount of band members departing, they have now settled on their lineup and released all three of their albums in the last four years.
Grimner hails from a fairly small rural town of Motala in Sweden, just about halfway between Stockholm and Gothenburg, and that’s exactly how they sound. The band plays a very foresty kind of folk metal, combining melodeath with a prominent flute sound that is present in most of their songs. Along with that, they also feature the bagpipes, the mandola and very seldom, the violin. The vocals are split between cleans and harsh growls, which are often fairly distorted, and the band’s sound could be compared to the Danish band Svartsot, although Grimner does not sound as heavy.
Vanadrottning is indubitably their best release so far - and one that’s made it into my top five of the year - full of catchy folk metal tracks such as the title track “Vanadrottning”, “En Fallen Jätte” and my personal favourite - “Ägers Salar.” The band features lyrics only in Swedish, which somewhat limits my understanding of it as my Swedish skills mostly consist of naming seven animals and listing personal pronouns, but I can tell a lot of their songs are classic Viking-themed folk metal material we all love: war, battle, Nordic mythology, and naturally, drinking.
Grimner has been hard at work in regards to touring as well, having a ten-year anniversary tour across Europe in the early part of the year, which followed the release of Vanadrottning, as well as an autumn tour with the Russian folk metallers Kalevala. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten a chance to see them myself, but with the band already being announced for Wacken Winter Nights and Månegarm Open Air, they clearly show no intention of slowing down as they continue their ascent amidst the folk metal greats.