Skálmöld (pronounced [ˈskau̯lmœlt]) is a Viking / folk metal band from Reykjavík, Iceland, formed in August 2009. The band’s name is literally translated as Age of Swords and also means “lawlessness”, referring to the Age of the Sturlungs of Icelandic history, when a civil war broke out between the country’s family clans.
Snæbjörn Ragnarsson and Björgvin Sigurðsson, who have been friends since childhood and have played together in various collectives, including death metal and punk bands, decided to start a new metal band, Skálmöld, formed in August 2009 in Reykjavík. The other band members had also been active in the Icelandic music scene. Initially, the band was intended to be merely a hobby, but the members soon decided to record an album before they were “too old and tired”. After contacting most of the Icelandic labels—to no avail—the band was signed by the Faroese label Tutl in November 2010, which released the band’s debut album Baldur in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. In April 2011, the band signed a record deal with Napalm Records; Baldur was re-released worldwide the following August.
The deal with Napalm gave Skálmöld a significant popularity boost. The band was invited to participate in the Wacken Open Air festival and the Heidenfest 2011 tour.
On April 13, 2012, Skálmöld began recording its second album, Börn Loka, which was released in October the same year.
In November, 2013, Skálmöld played a series of concerts with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra at the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavík. A live album and accompanying video was released on December 17, 2013.
From the beginning, Skálmöld’s intention has been to combine the sounds of the traditional Icelandic music and metal. Initially, the band planned to use a lot of folk instruments, but soon decided to scale back and have three guitar players instead. The band’s influences include such metal bands as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Slayer, Amon Amarth and Ensiferum, as well as Jón Leifs, the classical Icelandic composer. Skálmöld’s lyrics, written by Snæbjörn entirely in Icelandic, are inspired by the Norse mythology and Icelandic sagas. Furthermore, the lyrics conform to some of the Old Norse poetic forms, including fornyrðislag and sléttubönd.
Sorgir / 2018
9. Höndin sem veggina klórar (Bonus Track)
This is the new album of the Icelandic band Skálmöld. It will be released on October 12, 2018.
Vögguvísur Yggdrasils / 2016
Vögguvísur Yggdrasils (“Yggdrasil’s lullabyes” in Icelandic) is the fourth full-length studio album by the Icelandic viking/folk metal band Skálmöld, released on September 30, 2016 via Napalm Records.
Með vættum / 2014
1. Að vori
2. Með fuglum
3. Að sumri
4. Með drekum
5. Að hausti
6. Með jötnum
7. Að vetri
8. Með griðungum
Með vættum (“Among Vættir” in Icelandic) is the third full-length album by the Icelandic viking/folk metal band Skálmöld, released on November 11, 2014 via Napalm Records.
Með vættum tells of a woman, Þórunn, born on the north coast of Iceland. During her life, she travels around the island from north, to east, to south, to west. As she does so, she grows older and dies. On each coast she must fight a battle against enemies coming in from sea. She acts as a guardian to the island. In each battle she is aided by a wight, of which there are four traditional versions in Icelandic mythology: vultures from the north, dragon from the east, giant from the south, and a bull from the west, as well as wraiths on the sea all around the isle.
The protagonist was named after the daughter of the band’s keyboard player, Gunnar Ben. Songwriter Snæbjörn likes to use names for the characters which are familiar to him and to which he has some connection.
Börn Loka / 2012
Börn Loka (Children of Loki in Icelandic) is the second full-length album by the Icelandic Viking / folk metal band Skálmöld, released on October 26, 2012 via Napalm Records.
Like their debut album, Baldur, Börn Loka (“The Children of Loki”) is a concept album firmly grounded in Norse mythology. Börn Loka is ostensibly about Viking outcast Hilmar Baldursson and his sister Brynhildur, and follows Hilmar’s quest to provide for his sister by fighting Loki’s three famous children, but it’s really about Loki taking out his revenge on Baldur’s children. A little more knowledge of the Eddas (particularly who Narfi and Váli are, and what happened to them) is needed to really understand Loki’s motivation or Brynhildur’s fate.
The ten songs depict five encounters, with a setup song and a payoff song for each. The album begins and ends with the same motif, kicking off the action, and revealing the awful truth in the end. The three eponymous monsters are each sung in a different vocal style: the wolf Fenris Úlfur screams a black metal scream, the Miðgarð Serpent Jörmundgandur is sung in a traditional Icelandic rimur style, and Hel, the goddess of death, is sung with a second death metal growl from guest vocalist Edda Tegeder of Angist. Frontman Björgvin Sigurðsson narrates Hilmar’s story and provides the voice of the god.
The main character, Hilmar, was named after the son of the band’s lead singer and guitarist Björgvin Sigurðsson, while his sister Brynhildur is named after Guitarist Þráinn Árni Baldvinsson’s mother. Songwriter Snæbjörn likes to use names for the characters which are familiar to him and to which he has some connection.
Baldur / 2010
Baldur is the début full-length album by the Icelandic Viking / folk metal band Skálmöld. It was first released in Iceland and the Faeroe Islands on December 15, 2010 through Tutl and re-released by Napalm Records worldwide in July – August 2011.
While Skálmöld was initially formed with intention to be just a hobby, the band members soon decided to record an album. In January 2010, the band recorded its first demo, consisting of two song, “Árás” and “Kvaðning”, but it was never released. In May 2010, Skálmöld entered Studio Reflex in Reykjavík to record its first album.
Baldur is a concept album, telling a story of a fictional eponymous Viking with lyrics inspired by the Icelandic sagas and Norse mythology, entirely in Icelandic. A demon-like creature attacks Baldur’s home and kills his wife and children, forcing him on a quest for revenge, aided by two friends. After much hardship, they fight their enemy. Baldur’s friends die in the final battle and, having defeated the enemy, he succumbs to his wounds as well, joining his family in Valhalla. For the album’s re-release, the band decided to record a bonus track, “Baldur”, which proved to be challenging, since it had to supplement the completed story line.
Baldur’s lyrics conform to the rules of dróttkvætt, the Old Norse alliterative verse, while music combines folk melodies, with the elements from melodic death, doom and thrash metal, creating an overall epic atmosphere.
The album and protagonist were named after Baldur Ragnarsson, guitarist with the band and brother of main songwriter Snæbjörn. Snæbjörn likes to use names for the characters which are familiar to him and to which he has some connection.
REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS
Stam1na celebrated the 10th anniversary release of their “Raja” album with a special gig at Jäähalli´s Black Box in Helsinki. Rytmihäiriö and Skálmöld joined the party as well. We were luckyMay 31, 2018 by steelrain
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