The press release told me that ‘Synnjavinden,’ which is the second single from Gangar‘s debut album, is “perhaps their heaviest song to date.”
They are billed as a folk rock band with roots in the Norwegian Academy of Music and their speciality is “to make traditional Norwegian folk music more accessible to a general audience, without making any compromises on traditional music.”
Musical director Mattias Thedens, who plays the fiddle, finds the melodies in old archive recordings, and then they are co-arranged, allowing the band members’ different musical backgrounds from jazz, funk, pop, soul and metal to shape the final product.
In this case ‘Synnjavinden’ is the result of bassist Jonas Thrana Jensen´s musical background which is rooted in rock, wanting to write a rock-hard metal song.
There’s a lot of technical detail in the press release, concerning for example the guitar and bass using Drop D tuning, which enables power chords to be played with one finger and that’s why you’ll see a lot of heavier bands using it, and djent riffs (a subgenre of progressive metal characterised by its use of complex and heavily syncopated rhythm patterns); all of which is nice to know. Jonas wrote the riff because he thought the beat covered a darker side of Gangar.
But I’m not going into more detail than that. In plain English what they’ve come up with is a song that switches between something out of Dante’s Inferno (that’s dark) to an Irish Gypsy Wedding to that same wedding being transported by magic carpet to the Wacken Open Air Festival.
And all complemented by a Richard Burton-like voiceover that could have been taken from War of the Worlds or 1984.
And none of it is in your default heavy metal time signature of 4/4 or the jig’s typical 6/8, no sir. It’s sufficiently fluid and obscure that when I glanced at the song’s length of 3:54 on Spotify I thought I was looking at the meter.
Their sound isn’t unique I’m sure but they’ve certainly hit on one that stands them out from the crowd.
Let’s hope for more of the same.
Debut album ‘STUBB’ will be released in September.
Gangar consists of:
Mattias Thedens – Hardanger fiddle/flat fiddle
Oskar Lindberget – Sax
Richard Max – Guitar
Jonas Thrana Jensen – Bass
Henrik Dullum – Drums
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