Release: 16 August 2023
Lombolo is a Swedish folk metal trio and “Här och Där” (“Here and There” but way more fun to say) is their second full-length album. ‘Trio’ is a bit misleading because there are guest appearances from Anchorsmashed, Rietas, and Amadeus Kamsvåg. Some bands have “a style” and all the songs follow really closely to that style, and when they come on, the listener is like “Ah yes! This is from that band…” Lombolo has three or four such styles, and they’re all fantastic.
So, let’s address the elephant in the room first: Lennart Lanström is an amazing flutist and his talent brings a very unique vibe. The juxtaposition with Leonard Walerius’ and Johan Maxén’s vocals has melted my mind. This, along with the mandolin (especially in Ofärd) and the folk style of songwriting (especially in Utan Härd and Skuggan Från Prärien) mesh well with the bone-shaking guitar and bass and harsh heavy metal vocals. This fusion is what I enjoy most about folk metal, and Lombolo’s landed a flawless execution.
Finnish metal band Rietas made an appearance in the track “Kung Agne” about a mythical king and his towering might and glory. The female vocals were a surprise and welcome addition to the mix. Likewise when Amadeus Kamsvåg showed up with a saxophone in “Slap Thyne Enemy”– more on that later. And Anchorsmashed, when they join Lombolo, they fuse into a third band whose sound is greater than the sum of the two. “Raccoon Platoon” is a really fun anomaly on the album: Scotland meets Sweden in the American south. Crack open a cheap beer for this one.
The first two tracks blend together very nicely. Likewise, the fourth track fits really well with the fifth. The latter are both long-ish somber tracks and demonstrate the several flavors on the album. They’re all well-executed, but I prefer the zestier ones. To that note, “Slap Thyne Enemy” is a hearty stand-alone track that everyone needs to hear. It has a tremendously catchy accordion hook, the aforementioned sax and always-timely anti-fascist lyrics reminding you to slap thine enemy (ideologically, that is).
My favorite, though, is “Irminsûl”. It has a mellow flute-and-guitar faux-folk opening giving way to rhythmic cowbell and that textbook melodic death atmospheric vibe. The track oscillates between the two, and the whole thing makes me happy.
The album ends on a strange note with “Det Fjärde Korståget”, “The Fourth Crusade”, a metal opus including riffs from “Tarantella Napoletana” and some absolutely insane, weirdly inspiring, metal vocals. The track clocks in at nearly nine minutes and has a little something for everybody. It’s a song more experienced than idly listened to. The album is varied, frenzied, melancholy, and fun, and I’m headed back to play “Irminsûl” on repeat. Cheers!
- Kung Agne
- Slap Thyne Enemy (Nazis Must Die)
- Utan härd (Matkamies Part II)
- Skuggan från prärien
- Raccoon Platoon
- Det fjärde korståget