Fejd – Nagelfar (Napalm Records)Thursday, 27th June 2013
Sweden’s Fejd begs the question, “How folk can you go?” Their association with Napalm Records notwithstanding, the Swedes have generated a pretty impressive metal following since their 2001 formation, headed up their 2009 album Storm, which couldn’t have been released at a better time during the late-00’s dress-up-in-armor fascination. Their new Nagelfar is another slab of serious camp-fire numbers, without the slapstick and face paint. Authenticity is like a badge of honor for these gents…and it’s all folk, all the time.
The expressive, melodious, all-Swedish vocals of Patrik Rimmerfors have long been Fejd’s calling card. With his brother Niklas flanking him with a myriad of instruments (i.e. cow antler, hurdy gurdy, Swedish bagpipe, etc.), the pair is a virtually a two-man folk wrecking crew, with acoustic guitars playing off of them, not the other way. This is the primary differentiator when getting down to Fejd versus other folk metal luminaries (Eluveitie, Tyr, etc.) – there’s never a need to dive into muscular guitar territory to beef up the songs, for the sterling vocals of Patrik and wide array of sounds produced by Niklas are more than enough. And of course, the stomping “Sigurd Ring” and “Den Skirmande” (Patrik’s standout moment) are rousing, and highly effective.
Folk metal’s time in the sun has been on the wane for a few years now, the result of the all-too familiar grab-bag approach that cuts down on quality, but increases in quantity. Yet Fejd remains a unique quantity in the folk field, and are perhaps the truest representation of the sound going right now via Nagelfar, and the aforementioned Storm.