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Skumring : De Glemte Tider (Remaster)

The reissue of Skumring's 2005 album reminds what a glorious piece of Norwegian folk doom it is.

With the close of 2015 came one final re-issue of the year; 'De Glemte Tider' by Skumring. I was thrilled to see Solitude Productions' unearthing of Funeral's album, 'In Fields of Pestilent Grief' and Fallen's forlorn opus, 'A Tragedy's Bitter End'. It seemed all too fitting to finally see the revival of this glorious piece of Norwegian folk doom, after ten years of inactivity. As vocalist Cecilie Langlie and guitarist Tim Simonsen have moved onto the equally astounding Symphonic Doom project Omit, and guitarist Vàli has moved onto his own Neofolk project (which Cecilie Langlie is also a part of), the status of Skumring has been put into question. Whether they will continue to make music or not is, unfortunately, a question I cannot answer. So, in the mean time, I will instead analyze the band's forlorn album; 'De Glemte Tider'.

Having become familiarized with the likes of Funeral, Fallen, and Omit, I have noticed that, as these bands have all linked at a distance with their members, they also seem to pursue similar pallettes of music as well; majestic, slow, clean-sung Doom Metal. Those who are familiar with the formermost will pick up quickly on the similarities to the band's second album, 'Tragedies'.

The album enters with a minimal acoustic intro, strumming a melancholic harmony as Cecilie's soothing voice sails in quietly. Before one could suspect that they are listening to an ethereal Neofolk album, a crushing rhythm section and a mournful lead wails in. From this point forward, the listener will find themselves immersed in huge waves of melodic, yet very heavy, Funeral Folk Doom Metal, which is interspersed with these gentle passages of acoustic Nordic folk.

There is a nice dynamic between the guitars, the bass, and the drums. The guitars, obviously, take turns alternating between thick distorted sections of Doom, and nice acoustic interludes that seem to have been inspired by Funeral's earliest works. The rhythm guitars are thick, yet follow simplistic patterns, mostly keeping themselves restricted to maybe two different progressions through every five minutes. The lead guitar has the tendency to float and sigh over the grimy rhythm section, occasionally blending the acoustic melodies with the distorted riffs, to add a level of elegance to the heavy ensemble.

One unique feature of the music is that an upright bass is used instead of a distorted bass. This element is most easily detected on the opening track, 'Søvn', as it is played in a manner that causes a yawning, drooping effect that lingers alongside the trudging rhythm guitars, as opposed to a bouncier and groovier tone that could have potentially taken away from the heavy tone of the riffs.

It's hard to speak much for the drums, as the music plays at the tempo of a typical Funeral Doom release a good 80% of the time. However, the band successfully breaks beyond this barrier in the title track, during an intense climactic section that features blastbeats and a chugging Death/Doom riff, giving the drum section plenty of fills and interesting dynamics that deviate from the typical pace of 60 beats per minute.

Yet, what is truly the make-or-break aspect of the music is the exclusive utilization of clean female singing. Not a grunt or growl pops up in the entirety of the album, which people will either love or hate. Personally, I found this to be a very big positive, as I feel using harsh vocals would have tampered with the flowing, ethereal nature of the music itself. Cecilie Langlie's voice is crystal clear, gentle, and very sorrowful. Her alleviating mezzo soprano crooning does a very good job of enunciating the lyrics, and though the lyrics are entirely in Norwegian (a language which I have no knowledge of!), it's easy to capture the feeling of the words with her emotional delivery.

As someone who is very much a fan of the early days of The 3rd and the Mortal and Funeral, I can say without hesitation that this album is a favorite of mine. 'De Glemte Tider' is a very tasteful piece of heavy, bleak, Atmospheric Doom that succeeds in marrying the gentle acoustics and alleviating female vocals with the abrasive and depressive riffs of Funeral Doom. It can be filed alongside the likes of other forlorn Folk Doom bands, such as Uaral and Estatic Fear, while also tying in fans of bands such as Mournful Congregation and Agalloch.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Søvn
2. De Glemte Tider
3. Forførelse I Natten

Duration : Approx. 44 minutes

Visit the Skumring bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-02-24 by Dante DuVall
Aesthetic Death
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