Exposé Online banner

Exposé Online

Not just outside the box, but denying the existence of boxes.
Covering music from the fringes since 1993.


Ym:Stammen — Ulv! Ulv!
(Apollon Records APR018, 1994/2022, CD / LP / DL)

Ym:Stammen — Guden-i-Steinen
(Apollon Records APR019, 1997/2022, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-06-15

Ulv! Ulv! Cover artGuden-i-Steinen Cover art

Back in the 90s, when I was discovering all the wonderful music from Scandinavia released on the NorthSide label, there was even more going on in that part of the world than I was aware of. Case in point, Ym-Stammen (sometimes written as Ym:Stammen or other variations), a band formed in the mid-80s that recorded these two albums in the 90s. Apollon has now given these two gems their first vinyl release. Ulv! Ulv! dates from 1994 and presents a powerful sound built on big drums and percussion, with heavy guitars, strong vocals, and a smattering of instruments borrowed from around the world. Listeners familiar with Hedningarna and Garmarna will find the overall sound similar, perhaps with a bit of Hoven Droven’s rock energy tossed in. The band called their style “Nordic Stomp,” and that’s actually not a bad description. Fiddles and other instruments from the North Country back the vocals, which are arranged with lots of beautiful backing harmonies, and often have a polyphonic element. At times, the singing has a flavor of Gregorian chant. Percussion is tasty and features lots of Middle Eastern and Indian sounds. Not every tune features electric guitars (at least not prominently), though some do really rock. There’s not much in the world that’s out of bounds: funk, Afropop, and more get referenced on various tracks, but it all sounds like Ym-Stammen. Guden-I-Steinen came out in 1997, and was the band’s final release. It features more tunes in a similar vein, touching on even more styles. You’ll hear sitars, hurdy-gurdy, saz, oud, and tons more percussion, and it’s every bit as enjoyable as the previous album. What you won’t hear is fiddle, as violinist Øyvind Rauset had left the band. The guitars are also cleaner this time out, with fewer big crunchy riffs and chords, leading to a feeling that relies more on grooves than rocking. There’s enough going on otherwise that it’s not a fatal flaw, so I can still recommend the album. In short, Ym-Stammen is well worth investigating if you’re not familiar with them and like world folk fusion music.

Filed under: Reissues, 2022 releases, 1994 recordings, 1997 recordings

Related artist(s): Ym:Stammen


What's new

These are the most recent changes made to artists, releases, and articles.