|Few countries can boast as long and eventful a history and as rich and colourful a folklore as Denmark. At no point in time were these two aspects as inseparable as during the two hundred years or so following Denmark's official conversion to the Christian faith under King Harald "Bluetooth" Gormssøn. The old gods and other personifications of the natural elements were demonized by the church and, as if in rebellion against the new religion, became more and more present in the minds of the people.
This blend of the supernatural and the historic with no definable border between the two was the foundation for many folk ballads. The Folk Metal sextet Svartsot takes this essence to its heart and thereby continues the long tradition, adding tales of beer, battles and women to the brew.
Originally formed as a standard Metal five-piece in early 2005, Svartsot's intent was to merge thundering Metal with the more melodic Nordic Folk music, making use of growled vocals in their mother tongue. This combination proved so productive that Svartsot could already play their debut concert at Copenhagen's The Rock a few months after the bands inception. However, the band felt that they were missing certain Folk elements, and a line-up change ensued, including the addition of a whistler/bodhran player.
Following a period of intense work in the rehearsal room, Svartsot was ready to perform on stage again by late 2005, and around this time the first of Svartsot's two demos (Svundne Tider) was recorded. During the succeeding year or so, Svartsot were again active, playing gigs with some of the larger names of the Danish Metal scene, such as Volbeat, Illdisposed and Mercenary. They also won first place in the Danish Metal Grand Prix 2006, a national competition for underground Metal bands. Svartsot's live performances are noted for the bands ability to set the perfect scene, utilising Viking-style clothing and weapons on stage to underline the musical and lyrical content.
During the same year, the second demo (Tvende Ravne) was recorded by Jacob Bredahl of Hatesphere at his studio, Smart n' Hard. It was also in this year that Svartsot tracks from both demos were featured on various radio programmes, amongst others a BBC radio Folk music programme in England and Danmarks Radio's popular music station P3. One song was even included on Terrorizer magazine's Fear Candy Unsigned Edition 2006.
2007 saw the band undergoing another line-up change before signing to Austrian label Napalm Records. Svartsot entered the studio once again to record their debut album, Ravnenes Saga, this time with Jacob Hansen at the helm. Mastered at Tailormaid, Sweden, by Peter In de Betou, this album features powerful Metal riffs replete with guitar harmonies, raucous choruses and fast and furious Folk melodies interspersed with acoustic instrumentation.
The title means "Saga of the Ravens", suggesting Odin's two ravens, Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory). These two ravens would fly out over the world each day to return every evening and tell what they had seen. This theme fits the collection of songs on this album, telling tales of feats of courage and battles, feasts, creatures from the murky realms of folklore and womanizing. This is a pure Folk Metal album with Viking spirit.