Loppen, Christiania - 2014

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Loppen was housing a spring welcoming concert featuring folk-metallers Huldre as the main act.
Before springtime, there is the cold and unrelenting dark of winter that we must all survive to see the coming lighter warmth, and this is where Eldjudnir came in.

Eldjudnir is a doomy black metal band with roots in Norse mythology that saw its beginning back in 2004 but have seen a rise in activity only in later years. The connection with Huldre is palpable as Jacob Lund was a founding member and only recently left his seat open for Mads Lauridsen (Konkhra, The Cleansing), and since 2011 Bjarne Kristiansen has been the bass player.
I had been introduced to the band before the event, but as raw black metal isn’t often my cup of tea I admit to not spending too much time in their musical company. Because of this I was really surprised when the band opened the show with the funeral doom like track Bundinn.

Eldjudnir, looking like four Phantom Blots with instruments, had entered the stage in complete silence and in the absence of light without anyone really noticing them before the first chord was struck, the first sign of the evil that was to come and chill our hearts with a wintery touch.
Bundinn was painfully slow, even slower than in its recorded version I believe, and it really set a good tone for the show – my interest was picked and I wondered how I could have missed this gem when checking them out earlier on.
After this it was time for speed though, and on came Angrboða like a screaming banshee with all the force of the Northern wind. It felt like the band and main man Jakob Sture Winnem Larsen had looked both once and twice to the early roots of Ulver, where especially the deep clean vocals bore a resemblance of style and feeling. The tempo kept moving up and down through the rest of the set, but the atmosphere of utter desolation stayed with us as an unwelcome guest. To this effect, Huldre’s stage setup with trees, branches and animal skulls fit Eldjudnir like a glove, and in the cold blue backlight it wasn’t hard to imagine these hooded men performing pagan rituals in a winter forest.

The performance as such fit the bill, but I have never found standing with your eyes fixed on your toes to be the most engaging way of conducting a live show. Eldjudnir was in every way the complete opposite of Huldre, and as such a good choice for the evening (and of course you can never have enough Bjarne), but it seemed like they had a bit of an uphill struggle with winning over the crowd. Sure enough, there was a small handful of people in the front (or as front as this audience would go anyway) who headbanged along well, and after a couple of song, there began coming some spread shouts of appreciation from around the room, but things certainly never got out of hand.
For my part I can only say that musically this will never become the thing I search for the most, but I feel that Eldjudnir put on a fitting show for their style and for the evening and I enjoyed myself all the way through, especially the doomy parts which were really striking.
After only five songs Eldjudnir whisked off the stage as silently as they had arrived, without a single word being uttered throughout the gig which wasn’t part of the lyrics. Winter had finally let up on its grip and it was time to welcome spring into our desolate chamber.




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