Last Friday's WONGRAVEN post pushed me into a bit of a "black-ambient" bender, which eventually pushed me into a brief "Ihsahn" bender, which eventually reminded me of the existence of HARDINGROCK, one of the Emperor frontman's stranger (and more recent) projects.
Hardingrock, depending on who you ask, is anything from a "Death Folktronica" band to a "Progrock Finntroll on Acid" trio to a "Chamber Music Meets Drum Machines And BM Screeching" ensemble. Consisting of Ihsahn, his wife Heidi (also known as "Ihriel" or "StarOfAsh"), and noted Norwegian folk musician Knut Buen (left), Hardingrock is a clashing of electric guitars, drum machine, spoken passages involving Norse folk tales, standard Ihsahn/black metal vocals, washes of electronic weirdness, and the omnipresent, semi-atonal warbling of Buen's "Harding fiddle", a well-known instrument in the world of Scandinavian folk-shred.
That's right. Grandpa's Guitars. Deal with it.
Wait, where was I? I'm sorry, that fucked up picture over there of Ihsahn in stripper-genie pants just totally derailed my train of thought.
Oh yeah. This is album is pretty fucking sweet, depending where you stand on Ihsahn's later "ambient/psych/experi-metal"-type stuff (see also: solo albums, Peccatum). If you're down with some stony drone and electronica mixed in with your blackened fiddle-core, Hardingrock might be just the band to satisfy your jones. It's weird shit, and exceedingly corny at times. But it's a type of corny that Cobras can definitely get down with.
One psychedelically-tinged ESL description of the album I found on Amazon.com went like this:
"The sensation of hearing Hardingrock is like falling through a field of dying stars, each crying blood red shouts and moaning pitch black sighs. The sky below is nothing but pulsating white strings, each vibration yearning to teach a lesson of the deep folklore ridden past. Sometime during this enduring fall the rotting stars gave way to fiddle playing imps, their faces downcast in sorrow because their sounds cannot be heard. Now turn off Grimen and return to reality."
(PS: It doesn't really pick up until the second track. And the third track, "Faens Marsj", sounds like the theme from "Inspector Gadget".)
Knut Buen Last.FM