Friday, November 8, 2013
As the winter nears, I begin to crave more viking in my metal, but rarely can folk metal bands deliever, as most are too happy and sound like silly drinking songs or growling over polka. In the past I had given Falkenbach a listen, but have hardly been blown away by past efforts so I gave the new album by the one man German band a shot, the opener Vaer Stjernar Vaerdan, has the Lord of the Rings epic feel I like but without being to happy. In fact the clean vocals are mournful, unlike the more triumphant Tyr, who gets so up beat their trip over themselves into silliness.
So the album was off to a good start, but can Markus Tummers, craft a entire album as convincing. Well the harsh vocals and accelerated pace of "Wulfarweijd" sound like a more black metal Finntroll , but more angry than frolicking. It charges head on into battle, but so do most other bands of this ilk, with little variance except onward into the battle.
The acoustic guitars that start the swinging gallop of "Mijn Laezt Wourd" has more personality to it. It drones on the riff until the vocals come in and the tempo modulates to accommodate the melody. The pace of this reminds me of the newer Primordial. Brozen Embrace goes into a more straight up black metal riff ,but it is done much more effectively this time.
The strum of the clean guitars returns to lead off "Eweroun" but the metal guitars are evenly blended with the acoustics.This song chugs along nicely with its flowing sway.It seems the pattern established is to take the riff and sail it across the seven seas, building on it in waves rather than any changes . A mid-period Enslaved riff storms out across the tundra with "I Nattens Stilta". Melodic layers are added in the songs second half and when the double bass lets up it even takes a more folkish tone.
It 's is like every other song has breathing room as "Bluot Fuer Bluot" treads more melodic ground , though still bears a stomp over the ice. It seems like the melodic vocal lines have improved greatly from what I remember of the earlier work. It reverts back to more of a black metal feel in the final two minutes. The formula stays intact as "StikkeWound" goes for the throat with an epic blast, that paves the path for an even bigger gallop, where Amon Amarth, like to play viking, this sounds much more convincing, though will only sell a fraction of their numbers.
And album ends with some breathing room, as the strum of acoustic guitar propels this Germanic pagan ode. The drumming is pretty tasty here and keeps the song soaring over the camp fire.I'll give this album an 8.5 , it exceeded my expectations, even though it at times can be a little predictable and could use more experimentation with the folk elements, but for a one man band it's fair to say this is damn impressive.