Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Thyrfing : "De Odelosa"
While I know some have an aversion to pagan or Viking metal, I have had a LOTR marathon in the past month and have been known to carry a dice with more than six sides on my person, though I have never carried them in a fanny or ever slung them after hours in a comic book shop or your parents basement. Granted the darker the better for that sort of thing...the metal not the basement. This Swedish sextet is more epic than they are dark , thoughts their credit never hit that power metal level of frolicking .
Their most recent album Opens with the epic string build and keyboards scattered across the battlefield they ride across with a mid tempo gallop which is standard fare for Viking Metal. The growls on the lower side of midrange, nothing really blackened anywhere on this song. The only surprised was that they so quickly broke out the acoustic guitars on the first not one but twice, and then close it clean vocals, which to their credit are very tuneful in the Borknagar tradition.
The riffing on "Fordom" starts off as strong as a cursed sword, the keyboard which play in unison with the melody much like Moonsorrow's use of. The song marches on through the snow with heft to its step. I can see this appealing to fans of Unleashed yet wouldn't say this is death metal. The strength is riffs which work well within the unit as a whole and the more melodic passages keep the cheese to a low level. "Venners Fortall" has a brisk gallop without swinging the mead horn to readily. Good back ground music for any non-pussy Game of Thrones viewing parties, though this sort of metal can make it a literal no pussy party as its a sword fest waiting to happen. There's a cool riff post clean gang vocals on Venners. The keyboardist avoids being to Nightwish when he uses more of a piano tone and the clean vocals continue to have some balls to them.
"Illvija" could dial back the crashing waves effects at the beginning, the chug would have worked well enough.it has a midpaced stomp that still allows the guitars space to ring out. This isn't a slow song but doesn't have the same drive the first three songs did. The bands new drummer seems to adapted to the situation well and feels comfortable enough to take liberties with his fills. The vocals take on a more anguished rasp but not yet in the range of hate that is black metal, but I'm fine with that as its becoming more unique to not have black metal elements, yet the only problem is on songs like this it puts the bands in a bland middle of the road.
"Kamp" the folk metal comes out of the gate, though it's colored by a bluesy rock feel and the gallop the verse riff sails into has a rock swagger to it. It does tak on a powerful chug by it gets to the chorus. If they are planning on releasing a single this needs to be it , even with some power metal elements present, it's impressively written and combines all of the bands strong suits.
"Relik" has very Tyr-like punches at the onset and while the drumming is impressive , really what metal drummer shouldn't be and their is nothing that makes this song stand out from all the others bands of the same sub genre. The galloping is pretty fitting for any weekend of hardcore gaming you might have planned. They lay back into the solo on this one which is pretty tastefully executed. The last two songs of the album wrap thing up with a dark feel to them, the keyboard melody on "Vindoga" helps with this and the guitars have a more aggressive stomp to them. The layers here make it clear no expense was spared in production and even on the parts which might fall into the genre cliches they sound bigger and more cinematic this more forgivable.
I rounded this album down to a 7.5 as it adheres so closely to the conventions of the genre it doesn't really have enough of its own indentity the song "Kamp" is where I really feel we get to see who they are and perhaps buried under the chain mail there's a rock n roll band,which is cool by me . The album sounds great and is well played and if you only likeviking metal then I think this is one of the better crafted offerings from that genre as of late, but justwaittil Moonsorrowcomes home and your going to be in big trouble.