Exposé Online banner

Garmarna — Vedergällningen (Vengeance)
(NorthSide NSD6028, 1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2000-05-01

Vedergällningen (Vengeance) Cover artGarmarna’s newest release starts out with a grab for the listener’s throat. “Gamen (Vulture)” begins with a flanged rhythmic pattern on two fiddles which builds up to a powerful crash as the drums and bass enter. The snare-heavy drum pattern would not sound too out of place on a Chemical Brothers album, and the bass is more than a little fuzzed. Then Emma Härdelin’s serene vocal comes in, singing in Swedish. A check of the liner notes tells what she’s singing: the traditional story of King Vallemo, who, with the help of a talking vulture, rescues his daughter on the verge of being burned at the stake. Emma’s verses are alternated with reprises of the fiddle melody, accompanied sometimes by acoustic guitar, sometimes by a twist of feedback from an electric guitar. Of the many acts currently fusing Scandinavian folk music with modern sounds, Garmarna is perhaps the most aggressive. They concentrate for the most part on stories of murder, deception, and revenge, complementing the words with music that is sometimes very rhythmic and forceful, sometimes atmospheric and moody. Of the ten tracks on Vengeance, only two are not based on traditional material: “Euchari,” a relatively cheerful love song which veers near trip-hop territory; and “Polska,” an instrumental piece featuring hurdy-gurdy and a loping three-four drum part. Several of the songs feature a low drone with indistinct distorted noises providing a rhythmic pattern. The most common melodic sounds are fiddles and Emma’s crisp, versatile voice. Drummer Jens Höglin favors pounding patterns on his toms rather than kick and snare beats. The electric guitar is used more as a source of feedback than for chords or melodies. Ever since I heard Vittrad, Garmarna’s first American release, I’ve been fascinated by their unique sound. Vengeance, their third, continues the progression admirably, building on an impressive past and promising great things to come.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Garmarna

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Anoushka Shankar / Karsh Kale - Breathing under Water – Acclaimed sitar master Anoushka Shankar and ex-Tabla Beat Science techno beat master Karsh Kale teamed up for one of the surprise East-meets-West collaborations of last year. The two musicians are...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues