Fjorsvartnir

Obscene, Roskilde - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The Danish one-man black metal band Fjorsvartnir was headlining a show at Obscene in Roskilde, in support of the newly released debut album Legions Of The North.
As support, Solbrud and Sort Regn, also two new black metal bands from the Danish scene, had been brought along, and had done their job in warming up the crowd.

As a starting note about Fjorsvartnir, I would like to say that it is only vocalist/guitarist Andreas ‘Fjorgynn’ Willumsen who is the actual band, and plays everything on the album himself, except for parts of the keyboard which were done by Danny ‘Onslaughter’ Svendsen. Willumsen is also known under the moniker ‘Azathil’ when he plays in Archain (reviewed elsewhere on this site), and if you feel you might recognize some faces, well it’s simply because in the live version the two bands consist of the same members – bassist ‘Hellgarm’ and drummer Danni ‘Raven’ Holk (known in Archain as ‘Smertesorg’) are both members of Archain as well, and Fjorsvartnir also has the added strength of Svendsen on keyboards and Carlos ‘Caos’ García Robles on lead guitar, both of which can also be found in Heidra (also reviewed elsewhere on this site). Confused yet? Well, metal-Denmark isn’t as big a place as you would think, that’s all.

Anyway, back at Obscene, a lovely little place which attracts a more alternative crowd than the larger Copenhagen venues, the show was starting with all members crowding together on the small stage while an intro of chanting and church-like music was blasting through the speakers.
On the other side of the stage was a crowd that was eagerly awaiting the coming onslaught, a crowd which seemed to have grown in size compared to the one seen for the support bands.
As the intro came to an end, Fjorsvartnir quickly threw themselves, and the rest of us, into the title-track of the new album, and we were blasted by a furious storm of aggressive yet melodic black metal. The sound, surprisingly, wasn’t half bad, and the mix actually allowed for all of the instruments to be heard even in the cacophony of noise that is black metal. Willumsen’s throat sounded well-whipped, and as he varied the style from the classic shrieks to deeper death grunts from time to time, it helped the general flowing of the ebb and tide of the music.
There was never much said between songs, except for a couple of “skål” here and there, but the band tried their best to keep the train rolling by piling more and more songs on us. That is certainly one way to go, and even though I usually advocate a mix of music and chit-chat, Fjorsvartnir held true to their beaten path and only had a few minor breaks which put a dent in the tempo of the show.

Even though the crowd had grown, and had looked with great anticipation at the band during the setup and the intro, the reaction was rather calm to begin with when the music began.
All of a sudden though, someone sent a life-size inflated sex-doll flying through the air and the sport of knocking the plasticised girl around was quickly picked up by the clubs visitors. After about half a song or so, people had grown tired of this prank though, and the balloon found a safe spot to stay up at the bar – she had however invoked some unholy energy into the place and headbanging and fist shaking was now seen in plenitude! Two men in full-body corpsepaint could be seen swinging their hair whilst playing ‘air’ guitar on some very home-made inverted crosses!
Going back to comparing with the Archain show (which I feel is ok, since it is basically the same band but with different songs), a thing that annoyed me there also showed its face here with Fjorsvartnir – I’m talking about a lack of performing on the bands side. Robles, as I’ve seen him do in other bands as well, had a firm grasp of the audience, and was constantly working to get people’s hands in the air or just invoking general mayhem, but the rest of the guys were concentrating much too hard on what they were playing. Hey, it’s not a bad thing to be in control of your instrument, but these guys know their stuff and are quite capable of delivering, so why not loosen up a bit and headbang a bit or show us some devil-horns to let us know you’re still with us?

Over on the left side of the stage, where Robles was standing, things were working out quite nicely though, and the two large men with the paint and crosses had now taken position there, mixing it up between more guitar playing, and raising their crosses to the ceiling. Heck, Robles even received a hug at one point from a happy (and most likely blissfully intoxicated) man!
In the rest of the hall, the lack of performance began showing though, in the form of a great divide in the crowd – there was still one and a half frontline who were banging away like their life depended on it, but behind them the floor had opened completely up as the back-rows had pulled further back, either to sit down by the tables or simply just hang in the bar area. This was a sad, but inevitable, development, as only listening to songs which you really didn’t know, and having nothing else to grab your attention will at some point be tiresome. It wasn’t that the music lacked quality or anything, but there were no visuals to with it, and that’s at least half of the live experience right there!

Still, enthusiastic shouts for an encore got the band smiling after the show, and after a few short complimentary riffs from Willumsen, he said that they didn’t have anything more and that they weren’t allowed to play any longer. I slightly doubt the latter, but feel confident that the former was true enough.
All in all, it had been a joyful evening in the dark sign, but the band really needs to shift the focus to beyond the edge of the stage for this to really take off.

Setlist:

Legions Of The North
Levende Begravet
(untitled new song)
The Blood Of Our People
Nat Og Dag
A Psalm Of Embedded Hate

Fjorsvartnir

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