Various Artists — Nordic Roots 2
(NorthSide NSD6040, 1999, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2000-10-01
NorthSide’s strategy with their first Nordic Roots sampler (reviewed #16) must have paid off enough for them to do it again. Here they provide a sampling of 22 tracks from their releases of the past couple years at a price less than a fast-food combo meal. Many of the discs represented here have been reviewed individually in Exposé (Hedningarna, Garmarna, Rosenberg 7, Loituma, Sorten Muld, and more), all getting high marks. So if you’re at all curious about this Nordic explosion we’ve been covering, but hesitated to buy any of the music, here is a perfect opportunity to see what the fuss is about. I was already familiar with most of the artists here, so I’m not the target audience for this sampler, but it does make a great “mixed tape” for taking in the car, and there were a couple of pleasant surprises among the pieces I had not heard before. Foremost among these is Hoven Droven. Their track on the first sampler didn’t grab my attention, but “Brekken” on this one is a standout, an intense rock workout mixing loud guitars, monster drumming, and a killer organ solo with fiddles, a bit like a Swedish version of Scotland’s Wolfstone or America’s Boiled in Lead. The selection from Groupa (“Lavalek”) is another eye-opener, a very inventive piece that’s all over the map stylistically. All in all, a great way to hear a lot of new sounds, and for the price, even if you only like one or two cuts, still worth it.
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