M: Myrkur

Rating: 80%

Myrkur_M_cover.jpgSo, I heard all of this smack about this woman who is a well known Pop star that turned Black Metal. I was like huh? Then I heard how the Heavy Metal community was all up in arms that this woman couldn’t do Black Metal and instantly, everyone began trashing her music. So, I decided to take a listen. Well, I wasn’t disappointed, that’s for sure.

Musically, this album contains a lot. Many influences and elements here from classical to folk and yes, classic Black Metal. It’s all thrown together. This album contains a little bit of everything, plus more. Plus, and this is a major plus, she plays everything. She is a one woman band. And talented she is.

The music is very rich and full when you throw in all of the elements of Black Metal, Folk, and yes Pop. Some of the chorus lines are very full. But as broad as this is, somehow Amalie Bruun pulls this off and brings it home. There’s a nice collection of melodies mixed with harsh and clean vocals.  I love the riffs of the guitar all the way down to the folk instruments. With all of the influences, Amalie somehow balances the music out to compliment the overall sound. There’s also some atmospheric pieces which is where the classical or folk comes in. The song structures are pretty good and yet VERY dark.

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So, where are the complaints and controversy? I think, this woman pretty much pulled it off and made an album that isn’t perfect, but an album that damn good. She does have one hell of a good voice and song writer. I think that this album is very underrated.

Track listing:

1. “Skøgen skulle dø” (The whore had to die) 5:17
2. “Hævnen” (The revenge) 3:23
3. “Onde børn” (Evil kids) 4:09
4. “Vølvens spådom” (Prophecy of the Völva) 1:37
5. “Jeg er guden, i er tjenerne” (I am God, you are the servants) 4:03
6. “Nordlys” (Northern light) 2:15
7. “Mordet” (The murder) 3:41
8. “Byssan lull” (Swedish lullaby best known version by Evert Taube) 2:38
9. “Dybt i skoven” (Deep in the forrest) 3:09
10. “Skaði” (Skadi) 4:29
11. “Norn” 2:17

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Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings: Thrawsunblat

Rating: 95%

R-4932313-1379809091-1076.jpeg.jpgAlthough, David Gold from Woods of Ypres came up with this idea, he only recorded one album under the Thrawsunblat name. The first album released was in 2010 and Gold passed away in 2011. So, what do the other members of Woods of Ypres do? They move on while some of them reform this side project and make it into a full time gig.

The musicianship is really, really good. The band consists of bassist Brendan Hayter, drummer & vocalist Rae Amitay, vocalist & guitarist Joel Violette and guest musician Jeff Mott on the fiddle. Together, these musicians blend atmospheric melodies with elements of Melodic Black Metal and Folk Metal to create their sound and style. It works perfectly. 

The song arrangements some of which are drenched in Folk influences are fantastic. The acoustical guitar, fiddle, and clean vocals on “Maritime Shores” is amazing. It would almost stand up to any traditional Folk song. “Lifelore Revelation” has a rich Polka feeling to it, especially the beginning. The Black Metal side of the music including the harsh vocals are performed wonderfully. It’s not overwhelming to the point that it takes away from the harmony. Several of the heavier songs you can still hear the fiddle in the background. This album is very melodic sounding to the point where it almost seems very atmospheric. It got some very nice riffs to it as well as leads. Super fast tempos, but then the tempo changes to reveal the rich melody to the music. I love everything about this album.

Track listing:

1 Lifelore Revelation 4:12
2 Once Fireveined 5:43
3 We, The Torchbearers 5:21
4 Goose River (Mourners’ March) 3:34
5 Bones In The Undertow 5:14
6 Wanderer On The Continent Of Saplings 5:20
7 Maritime Shores 3:32
8 View Of A Million Trees 7:22
9 Borea (Pyre Of A Thousand Pine) 5:22
10 Elegy Across The Silence 2:58
11 Song Of The Nihilist 5:58
12 I Am The Viator 5:07

Victory Songs: Ensiferum

Rating: 90%

Ensiferum_Victory_SongsReleased in 2007, “Victory Songs” remains one of my favorite Ensiferum albums to date. I love the opening song “Ad Victoriam” on the album which sets the pace for the entire works. It begins with a very European Folk style acoustical piece that features a blend of musical instruments centered around a soft chants with the keyboard in the background. Throughout the album you’ll hear these arrangements of bagpipes, mandolin, whistles, and yes, the recorder. That is what Folk Metal is about, the instrumentation. As the second song opens with a scream and heavy sounds of guitars, drums, and bass and fast tempos, the rest of the album falls into place.

The musicianship is topnotch. You have harsh vocalist Petri Lindroos on guitar and banjo, clean vocalist and guitarist Markus Toivonen, keyboardist Meiju Enho, bassist Sami Hinkka, and drummer Janne Parviainen.

Musically, this album has some very catchy chorus lines, great riffs, fast leads, and great tempos. The instrumentation of acoustical and electric go hand and hand to break up the pace of the music and make it really enjoyable to listen to. The music itself is very epic. It’s got plenty of melody that is intertwined with atmospheric Power Metal and Epic Metal. Through the lyrics of Viking themes, they manage to capture history that is now becoming very popular.

Track listing:

1. “Ad Victoriam” 3:10
2. “Blood Is the Price of Glory” 5:17
3. “Deathbringer from the Sky” 5:10
4. “Ahti” 3:55
5. “One More Magic Potion” 5:21
6. “Wanderer” 6:32
7. “Raised by the Sword” 6:11
8. “The New Dawn” 3:42
9. “Victory Song” 10:42

Eric the Red: Týr

Rating: 90%

Eric_the_red_re-release_cover.jpgReleased in 2003 and released in 2006, “Eric the Red” is a unique take on European traditional folk songs and tales. Musically, this album is a combination of Folk and Viking Metal with some Progressive influences. It also has some of the Power and Epic Metal elements that are blended nicely into Týr’s brand of Heavy Metal. One thing is for sure, Týr will leave you wanting to know more about the traditional themes that are the subject of their lyrics.

The song structures are very complex, loosing more of the power chord and going for more of riffs that are almost along the lines of scales. Think Iron Maiden. The music itself isn’t as heavy as most Viking Metal bands are as many of them fall into the Death Metal realm, but along the lines of traditional Heavy Metal.  Again, think of early Iron Maiden or Manowar. This album is rich on harmony and melody from the music to the vocals. It also seems to have some melodic melodies to it as well.

Vocally, there are chants and songs written in poetic manor that tells story of those yesterdays. The arrangements of lyrics are both inspiring and epic along with those melodic and majestic chorus lines. The chorus really makes you want to sing out loud and you’ll hear inside you mind because of how catchy they are. It’ll turn you into a Pagan or Heathen when your done.

Vocalist and guitarist Heri Joensen delivers a great performance on this record. I really admire his vocal style and song writing capabilities. Also shredding on the ax is Terji Skibenæs. Keeping pace and time is bassist Gunnar H. Thomsen and drummer Kári Streymoy whom I must say really give this brand of Viking Metal that tasteful Progressive complex of off beats. 

 

Track listing:

1. “The Edge” 7:44
2. “Regin Smiður” Traditional Faroese 6:08
3. “Dreams” 5:32
4. “The Wild Rover” Traditional Irish 4:12
5. “Stýrisvølurin” Traditional Faroese 6:57
6. “Ólavur Riddararós” Traditional Faroese 4:36
7. “Rainbow Warrior”  5:28
8. “Ramund Hin Unge” Traditional Danish 4:31
9. “Alive” 7:24
10. “Eric the Red” 7:42
11. “God of War” 6:23
12. “Hail to the Hammer” 3:49