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Although the concept itself has been growing in popularity since the late 20th century, the exploration of regional folk traditions by European heavy metal bands really blossomed into a significant, stand-alone subgenre during the first decade of the new millennium, yielding unorthodox groups and sounds ranging from Ireland's Cruachan, to Switzerland's Eluveitie, to Germany's Equilibrium. But it's in Scandinavia that folk-metal has probably spawned the largest number of bands, including Finnish entries like Amorphis and Finntroll, and Norwegians Windir and Lumsk. Originally formed in the town of Trondheim, in 1999, Lumsk were probably one of the first ensembles that were "built to folk" from the ground up, though; augmenting the conventional metallic instrumentation provided by guitarists Bjørnar Selsbak and Eystein Garberg, bassist Espen Hammer, and drummer Alf Helge Lund with violinist Siv Lena Waterloo Laugtug, keyboardist Espen Warankov Godø, session horns and additional strings -- plus singer Vibeke Arntzen, who softly purred most all of their lyrics in Norwegian dialects. This lineup was responsible for Lumsk's acclaimed debut album, Asmund Fregdegjaevar, released in 2003 by Tabu Records , and the band barely missed a beat when they had to replace Arntzen and Selsbak with new vocalist Stine Mari Langstrand and guitarist Ketil Saether before 2005's sophomore opus, Troll. That same year, Lumsk also became the first group to receive a coveted grant worth upwards of $50,000 from Norway's by:Larm Convention and Festival, using it to finance their third album, Det Vilde Kor (and a few of its videos, to boot), which was released in 2007 and featured new drummer Vidar Berg, as well as guest vocalists Tone Kummervold (mezzo soprano) and Lars Eggen (tenor). 2008 saw the departure of longtime members and married couple Saether and Laugtug who were expecting a baby, but Lumsk once again plans to simply audition for replacements and carry on with their folk-metal experiments.
© Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo


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