It isn't uncommon for the more melodic death metal and black metal bands in Sweden, Norway, and Finland to incorporate Scandinavian folk; in fact, many of them have done it successfully. But what transpires on Hardingrock's Grimen -- a project featuring Ihsahn of the well-known Norwegian black metal band Emperor -- isn't really black metal or death metal per se. Perhaps the best way to describe this hard to categorize CD is "Norwegian folk-rock with elements of ambient electronica and occasional black metal-influenced rasp vocals." All of the vocals (which range from the clean vocals of female singer Heidi S. Tveitan to Ihsahn's demonic-sounding rasp) are in Norwegian, and despite Ihsahn's presence, Grimen doesn't sound anything like an Emperor album. Anyone who expects Grimen to be a full-fledged black metal or death metal disc is going to be disappointed, but from a world music perspective, this 2007 release has a lot to offer. One of the main participants is veteran Norwegian fiddler Knut Buen, who is featured extensively. Buen is not a rock musician; he is a traditional Scandinavian folk player, and his albums have been well received in Nordic folk circles. Ihsahn definitely isn't the type of artist Buen would ordinarily be performing with; nonetheless, all of the pieces fall into place on Grimen, which won't appeal to either metal or Scandinavian folk purists but is an enjoyably risk-taking, if slightly uneven, example of world music, rock, and electronica coming together.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson