Archive for Viking Metal

Helheim unveil new album details

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 15th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Good news for fans of Viking black metal. If you are into bands such as Enslaved, Kampfar or Taake then there is a good chance that you will also like the Norwegian black metal group Helheim.

Their latest album ‘Rignir’ is scheduled to hit the shops on 26th April 2019 via Dark Essence Records. The title means “rain” in Norwegian and it is inspired by the climate in the band’s home city of Bergen.

You can see the cover and the track-listing below:

1. Rignir
2. Kaldr
3. Hagl
4. Snjóva
5. Ísuð
6. Vindarblástr
7. Stormviðri
8. Vetrarmegin

Helheim - Rignir

The album release will be followed by an European tour with record label mates Madder Mortem as support. Here is the full schedule:

Apr 12  Kvarteret , Bergen, NO
Apr 21 Dark Easter Metal Meeting , Münich, DE (Helheim only)
Apr 25 Quantic Club , Bucharest, RO
Apr 26 Flying Circus , Cluj Napoca, RO
APR 27 Vörös-Kék Yuk, Budapest, HU
APR 28 Nova Chmelnice , Prague, CZ
APR 29 Backstage, Paris, FR
MAY 01 The Underworld , London, UK
May 02: Logo, Hamburg, DE
MAY 03 Konfus, Esbjerg, DK
MAY 04 Skullcrusher, Dresden, DE

In the meantime you can watch their latest video for the new single ‘Kaldr’.

For more details go to:

http://www.helheim.com/
https://www.facebook.com/helheimnorway

Grimner – Vanadrottning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 4th February 2018 by izaforestspirit

Grimner
Vanadrottning
Released 9th February 2018
Folk Metal/ Viking Metal
Released via Despotz Records

Grimner - Vanadrottning

Swedish Viking metal band Grimner are celebrating their 1Oth anniversary this year. They have decided to mark the occasion with the release of the new album ‘Vanadrottning’. The album title is a reference to the Vanir goddess Gullveig who was reborn after being burned alive three times by the Aesir gods during the war between the Aesir and the Vanir.

I don’t really listen to much folk metal these days. Not because I dislike the genre; there was a time when I loved it. That’s starting to be quite a a few years ago now. Since then most of the bands that I used to like have either gone stale, repetitive or just downright bad. Very few have actually stood the test of time and continued to make memorable music. Finntroll and Eluveitie come to mind though the latter occasionally overdoes it on the folk, omitting the metal. So where does Grimner stand in all this? Let’s find out shall we…?

In many ways this sounds pretty much like you would expect any good folk metal album to sound. No surprises, just your usual blend of folk instruments such as flutes and bagpipes mixed with traditional heavy metal guitars and drums. The use of their native tongue works to their advantage since Swedish is one of those languages that is melodic by nature and easy to sing. Also the dual vocal configuration, mixing the harsh with the melodic seems to work pretty well. The title track’s chorus is likely to stick in your head for a while and you will be tempted to to sing along even if your Swedish is as non-existent as mine is. The guitar work ain’t half bad either.

The flutes and bagpipes have a prominent role as the album progresses. Take ‘En Fallen Jätte’ for example, it’s easily one of the record’s finest moments; packed with “bouncing” flute tunes and equally playful guitar riffs. If this isn’t enough to make you want to get up and dance then there must be something wrong with you! Some of the songs actually reminded me of Finntroll but that could be just due to the language of the lyrics and the sound of bagpipes. Like I said, I don’t understand Swedish but luckily you don’t need to in order to enjoy Grimner’s music.
At least I don’t think there’s too many mentions of evil trolls in the lyrics…

What they do have however, is Erik Grawsiö (Månegarm) as a guest vocalist on Fafnersbane, one of the more melodic songs. The inclusion of Mr. Grawsiö suits the song well though it seems a bit like they are playing it safe by considering how similar the two bands are to each other. Sången Om Grimner also caught my attention as one of the slower, calmer songs on here and probably the closest thing this album has to a ballad.

Overall, I have enjoyed listening to ‘Vanadrottning’. It’s been a highly entertaining ride. As far as folk and viking metal go, this album doesn’t really offer anything new. I could produce a whole list of bands that sound similar but what’s the point? These guys aren’t new to the scene, they have been around for a decade. Luckily for them they happen to be good and what they do.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Havamal – Call Of The North

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 15th August 2017 by Nico Davidson

Havamal
Call of the North
Released June 2017
Viking Metal/Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Hailing from Sweden come Viking-themed death metallers Havamal. It’s kind of fitting that a band that has Viking themes would name themselves after one of the books in the Poetic Edda but now is not the time to be discussing Old Nordic literature. Formed in 2016, in the city of Stockholm, Call of the North is Havamal‘s first release.

The grandoise opening of the track Havamal sets the pace for the EP with its majestic and powerful orchestration coupled up with the spoken word. The other five tracks on the EP have a very Ensiferum-inspired sound, especially in the feral vocals that come screaming out like an enraged berserker. Dread Age stands out immediately with its savage assault of guitars and furious orchestral elements whereas Jotun War follows up with as a standard Viking metal anthem with hints of power metal thrown in for good measure.

Ragnarok is quite the dark composition, with the odd headbanging moment here and there and some Dimmu Borgir-esque moments. Call For Revenge gets the blood pumping with the Ensiferum influenced sound and powerful use of orchestration in the background. Call of the North ends with the memorable track Force of Judgement, which is a melting pot of sounds with catchy riffs and melodic verses.

Havamal show a lot of potential with this first release, though the band have still yet to find their sound. With their guitar driven sound combined with their orchestral moments and bestial vocals, Havamal could easily become a stand out band in the metal community.

4/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Call of the North can be purchased at this location.

Liv Kristine: “I’d love to further cooperate with Simone”

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 9th January 2016 by Nico Davidson

Nico interviewed Liv Kristine, the charismatic and Valkyrie-like frontwoman of Leaves’ Eyes in Sheffield on their UK tour, in support of the new album King of Kings.

Nico: Hi Liv, how are you?

Liv: Very good, how are you?

N: I’m great, thanks.

L: Good to see you again.

N: Good to see you too. How has the tour gone so far?

L: Really really well. We’re on the UK leg of the tour now and we have one third of the tour still to play. That’s going to be for the UK only. The first leg was for the rest of Europe which was really nice too. Paris: awesome, Belgium: awesome. But the UK is always something special, we have a very big and strong fan base here. We have fans and friends who follow us for every gig and that’s a privilege. I see that the market for our kind of music is growing here, and that’s maybe not the case in Germany. So it’s very good to be back, we’ve already played three gigs and it has been absolutely fantastic.

N: You’ve released a new album recently: King of Kings – which you’ve based on Harald Fairhair. Obviously Scandinavian history, old Norse history in general, is full of fascinating characters like Eirik Bloodaxe.

L: That’s one of Harald’s sons. You’ll find him in the first or second bonus track, it’s called Trail of Blood. That’s a song about him. So who knows what the next Leaves’ Eyes album is going to be about. We know that Harald had many sons and daughters.

N: There are so many other characters like Erik the Red or Leif Erikson. What is it about Harald Fairhair that stood out from the rest of all these great characters and infamous villains? What made you want to do an album based on his life and his legacy?

L: Because I grew up with the legacy of Harald Fairhair. The decisive battle that made him become the king of Norway took place in a fjord called Hafrsfjord, which is my birthplace. So Harald Fairhair has always been there. I’ve always been interested in history and it happened exactly two years ago, over a morning cup of coffee that Alex came up with this idea: what about king of kings? I started digging through all my books and I contacted my mother in Norway to collect stuff at museums and libraries. So it has been amazing to study Harald Fairhair’s life and to divide it into twelve chapters. Parallel to my studies, Alex and Thorsten composed songs at the studio. We’ve been very busy, it has been a very intense process but highly creative. We had so much fun and it means a lot to me to have this album released. It’s definitely a milestone in the career of Leaves’ Eyes. And as I said, it happened at my birthplace so.

N: I highly praised the album for Valkyrian Music..

L: Thank you very much! I read it, of course.

N:Good! Obviously it’s brilliant to see that you guys got back to how you originally started with tales of Viking warriors, going forth into battle, exploring lands and so on. How would you say that King of Kings compares to the rest of the Leaves’ Eyes discography?

L: I’d say King of Kings has a connection to The Vinland Saga, which was thematically about Leif Erikson and his discovery of America. So if there is a link to any other album, I’d say The Vinland Saga. You already mentioned the folky instruments and the folky touch and the orchestra and everything so it has been there all the time but every album has been different. Now King of Kings happened, it was great to see how everything came together. We worked on every song as if it were one individual piece of music. We added any instrument from London Voices to White Russian Orchestra, cello, flutes…everything. We worked on every song until all three of us, Thorsten, Alex and I being perfectionists, said okay let’s go for the mix, its fine.

N: On this album you added Simone Simons from Epica and Lindy-Fay Hella from Wardruna. What was it like working with those two women on the two tracks that they featured on?

L: Absolutely amazing. Of course I know of the series Vikings and I just thought the music is amazing, the soundtrack is amazing! Who is that girl singing? I found out she’s from Bergen! Through a common friend of mine and of Wardruna, I got Lindy-Fay‘s contacts. I contacted her and she said “of course, I know you and I would really like to work with you”. So I sent her Blazing Waters and we were blown away. A couple of weeks later I flew to Bergen and met Lindy-Fay. I presented her Blazing Waters and she loved it, it was definitely golden. She’s a lovely girl and a great musician.

Simone lives one hour away from us so it was about time to invite her to come to our studio. She’s been at our place before but it has been quite a while. She’s a mother now so she’s busy, but she came by and she listened to the song and…I’d say we are a perfect match. Lovely, lovely to work with her.

N: Obviously Epica and Leaves’ Eyes, despite falling into the symphonic metal genre, have got two completely distinct styles. Do you think there will be any sort of crossover between from the recent collaboration between you and Simone?

L: I don’t know. I have no clue, we’ll see. I love Simone and her work, she’s a lovely girl and we are both mothers… We live one hour away from each other so who knows. I’d love to further cooperate with Simone. It would be great.

N: Going back to Harald Fairhair. You obviously studied his saga, his life story quite extensively for the album. What would you say is the most fascinating aspect about the man?

L: We got a few facts about Harald through Snorri, but Snorri came about a couple of hundred years later. Next to that we got the sagas and the tales of the Norwegian kings, where you can find a lot of interesting written words about them to honor them. I think it is absolutely amazing to read the different approaches to his person, because he must have been exactly as unruly, wild like his son Eirik Bloodaxe. He must have been exactly like that himself. In many of the tales or poems about Harald it is told that he was beautiful and that he could have had any woman: he was very glorious. It’s fascinating to read other stories like the battle of Hafrsfjord; about blood being everywhere and the fjord burning or different sceneries, a different Harald.

N: He certainly sounds like an interesting figure. As a fan of both Vikings and Game of Thrones, which one do you prefer?

L: Vikings. Last time it would have been Game of Thrones but it’s Vikings now because of the music. Of course because of my friend Lindy-Fay who’s in there. Although it’s made in Hollywood, I think it’s very nice. It’s very nice to watch those great actors. I love it. And also because I’m Norwegian.

N: That’s very good. Thank you for your time. Have a lovely show tonight.

L: You’re welcome, thank you very much and thanks for coming.

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de 

Amon Amarth about to embark on European tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 13th January 2015 by Pieni

 photo amonamarthtour_zps22e65d5a.jpg

Still promoting their latest album “Deceiver Of The Gods” (released in June 2013 via Metal Blade Records), Swedish Vikings Amon Amarth will raid the UK, France and the Iberian Peninsula between January and February, supported by Huntress and Savage Messiah. Their own words are as follows:

“UK, Portugal, Spain and France…get ready this January for a Viking invasion! We’ll be making an extensive UK expedition where we’ll be pillaging smaller clubs in virtually every nook and cranny of the country. We’re also making a more in depth raid of France, Spain and Portugal. Finally! As support on this mission we’re bringing our friends in Huntress and up-and-comers Savage Messiah. Don’t miss this awesome night of metal and we will take no prisoners!”

Here are the targets of this pillage:

15/01/15 FR – Lille – Le Splendid
16/01/15 UK – Brighton – Concorde 2
17/01/15 UK – Plymouth – The Hub
18/01/15 UK – Bristol – Thelka
19/01/15 UK – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
21/01/15 UK – Norwich – Waterfront
22/01/15 UK – Colchester – Arts Center
23/01/15 UK – Oxford – Academy2
24/01/15 UK – Stoke – Sugarmill
25/01/15 UK – Manchester – Academy2
27/01/15 UK – Glasgow – Classic Grand
28/01/15 UK – Leeds – Stylus
29/01/15 UK – Newcastle – Uni
30/01/15 UK – Lemmington – Assembly
31/01/15 UK – Southampton – 1865
02/02/15 FR – Rouen – Le 106
03/02/15 FR – Reims – Le Cartonnerie
04/02/15 FR – Nancy – L´Autre Canal
05/02/15 FR – Nimes – La Paloma
06/02/15 ES – Bilbao – Santana 27
07/02/15 ES – Barcelona – Razzmatazz1
08/02/15 ES – Madrid – La Riviera
10/02/15 PT – Lisboa – Paradise Garage
11/02/15 PT – Porto – Hard Club
12/02/15 ES – Santiago – Captol
14/02/15 FR – Clermont-Ferrand – Le Cooperative De Mai
15/02/15 FR – Strasbourg – Laiterie

Last autumn, Amon Amarth launched a video for the title-track of “Deceiver Of The Gods”, which is believed to be the most remarkable video of the band so far, as it features clips from the upcoming film “Northmen – A Viking Saga” – a movie where Johan Hegg himself stars as Valli.

http://www.amonamarth.com
http://www.facebook.com/OfficialAmonAmarth
http://twitter.com/amonamarthband
http://deceiver.amonamarth.com

Warhorns 2014 announced

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd June 2014 by Nico Davidson

The third edition of the annual Warhorns Festival has been announced. Unlike the previous two years, Warhorns 2014 will take place in Selby, near York, at The Riverside on Saturday 20th September. Announced so far for the festival are York’s mercenary metallers Sellsword as well as Nottingham pirate metallers Red Rum and Hullian black metal outfit Aloeswood. Other bands are to be announced including the headliner and ticket information will be available in the near future.

King Of Asgard to release third album on 18th July

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 2nd June 2014 by Pieni

 photo kingsofasgaard_zps52a66315.jpg

Swedish Vikings King Of Asgard have recently released the new single “The Runes Og Hel” in advance of their third upcoming album “Karg”. The release date for the latter is set for 18th July, via Metal Blade Records. This will be its track list:

01. The Runes of Hel
02. The Trickster
03. Highland Rebellion
04. Remnant of the Past
05. Omma
06. The Heritage Throne
07. Huldran
08. Rising
09. Total Destruction (Bonus Track)

Recorded once again by Andy LaRocque at Sonic Train Studios, bassist Jonas Albrektsson and singer/guitarist Karl Beckman state: » After well over a year of intensive writing, we finally reached the point where everything is put into finish. When countless hours of hard work and careful consideration has been completed. This completion, being our third album which at an early stage was titled to “Karg”, in English, “Barren”. A word which later on came to form the atmosphere of the whole album and a sense that meanders through more or less all the material. It’s darker, it is harsher and more stripped down than our previous releases. More mature, precise and well thought out. A challenge both for us as well as for the observer. Lyrically, we have come closer to our own immediate surrounding and ancestral heritage, based on old legends and tales from our home region, a tribute to our fair and historical countryside. Yet again everything was recorded and mixed in Sonic Train Studios with Andy LaRocque at the helm assisted by Olof Berggren. Even in the phase of recording we used the word Karg as a guideline… and thus, it is upon thee! «

Check the band’s profile at the label’s website (www.metalblade.com/kingofasgard) to stream the aforementioned single “The Runes Of Hel” and see the pre-order options.

http://www.kingofasgard.com
http://www.facebook.com/kingofasgard
http://www.myspace.com/kingofasgardsweden

Tyr unveil video for The Lay Of Our Love featuring Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 30th January 2014 by Nico Davidson

Faroese Jarls of Viking metal Týr have unveiled the video for The Lay Of Our Love, which features Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes. The song is taken from Týr’s latest musical edda Valkyrja, which was released via Metal Blade Records and is the band’s follow-up to their 2011 release The Lay Of Thrym. The clip was produced by Stanimir Lukic, directed by Ivan Colic, and can be seen below.

Tyr online:

http://tyr.fo
http://facebook.com/tyrband

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Leaves’ Eyes Cardiff show venue change

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 4th January 2014 by Nico Davidson

Norwegian-Germanic symphonic folk metallers Leaves’ Eyes, who are fronted by Liv Kristine, are hitting the UK later this month for a tour with Atrocity and Pythia, in support of their latest – and darkest – masterpiece Symphonies of the Night.

Following the recent closure of Bogiez in Cardiff, Leaves’ Eyes will now be playing The Globe, Cardiff on 15th January. Further information can be found here. Full UK tour dates are as follow:

15th January   CARDIFF – The Globe
16th January   NOTTINGHAM – Basement
17th January   MANCHESTER – Sound Control
18th January   BIRMINGHAM – Temple
19th January   LONDON – Garage

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de
http://facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

King Of Asgard start recording third studio album

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 3rd January 2014 by Nico Davidson

King Of Asgard will return to Sonic Train Studio in March this year, having outlived and conquered the three winters of Fi’mbulvintr as well as paying tribute to to their ancestors and their proud past with …To North.

Now, for the third time around, King Of Asgard return to Andy LaRocque‘s Sonic Train Studios to carve the runes of the forthcoming, yet untitled album. In this very moment the last touches are being done on the songs and focus is set to surpass the two former releases which is substantially already met.

The third album is regarded by the band as a new chapter in their career. Frontman Karl Beckman comments:

The epic/melodic song writing of the first two albums is enhanced with monophonic warlike hymns and fierce riffage that hint on the various band members past projects. Somewhat darker in its approach, creating atmospheres not alien to King of Asgard, but still something not heard on the previous two albums. All the King of Asgard-significative elements are represented yet carrying a somewhat new execution.

King Of Asgard online:

http://kingofasgard.com
http://facebook.com/kingofasgard

Týr – Valkyrja

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

Týr
Valkyrja
Released 17th September
Viking Metal
Released via Metal Blade

Hailing from the Faroes come Týr, one of the the biggest and most influential Viking metal bands of today. Following their jump from Napalm Records to Metal Blade, the four piece soon would finish Valkyrja, the band’s seventh full-length studio album. The album’s main concept is the story of an unnamed warrior who leaves his wife in order to impress a Valkyrie so that he can gain entry to either Folkvang or Valhalla.

Blood Of Heroes opens up the album in a truly powerful manner. The opening passage signals a change of sound in Týr‘s music whereas the chorus is typically catchy, something that has become a trait in Tyr‘s music over the last couple of releases. Mare Of My Night follows, which Heri describes as being the song that he has ever written the most sexually explicit lyrics for. The song focuses on a strong driving sound with an equal measure of melody to accompany the propulsive riffs. Hel Hath No Fury, which is a brilliant play on words regarding the supposed Nordic goddess of death Hel, has a cold and furious streak woven into the guitars and a hook in the chorus.

The Lay Of Our Love begins with the typical elements of a ballad, something which is enforced by both Heri‘s and Liv Kristine‘s vocals. The guitars paint a near-romantic image with different shades of emotion contrasting with the vocals where as Nation  is the complete opposite, charging in for a frontal assault of melodious passages and aggressive vocals with reinforcements from a heavy bombardment of drums. Another Fallen Brother focuses on a more thrash-like use of guitars, with near-power metalesque vocals and a cumbersome use of bass and drums.

Grindavísan starts with a folk-like choir before the majestic riffs domineer the song. As the song becomes heavier, so do Heri‘s vocals while the folk choir make an appearance for the chorus, adding a new spin on the song and keeping it traditionally Týr sounding. Into The Sky makes for a somber metallic dirge before leading into the highly melodic and medieval sounding Fánar Burtur Brandaljóð, which is sung in a Nordic language, presumably Faroese. Lady Of The Slain, which is one of the names given to the deity Freya, comes racing in like a horde of warriors drunk on blood and glory. The guitars cut through the track like a knife through butter, allowing for the bass and drums to leave their own path of devastation.

The title track, Valkyrja, has one of the most solemn introductions on the whole album, allowing varying levels of emotion to ring out through each note. Where the faster paced aspects of the track bring a vast amount of power with them, allowing the snarling use of riffs to roar fiercely throughout the song. The album ends with two covers: Where Eagles Dare (Iron Maiden) and Cemetery Gates (Pantera) – Both of which are performed superbly with Týr‘s own unique twist on them.

Valkyrja is a change in direction for Týr, stepping forward with their sound but allowing for some room for certain sound sand elements from previous albums, making for a fusion of old Týr and new TýrValkyrja is probably the best album they’ve released thus far and definitely shows how much their sound has evolved since How Far To Asgaard.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Týr online:

http://facebook.com/tyrband

 

Týr release new single titled Mare Of My Night

Posted in News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 13th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

Valkyrja; the seventh studio album from Faroese Viking metal legends Týr will be released next month (16th September – UK release date). Having already released the album’s opening track, Týr have released their second single from the album; Mare Of My Night. The song is being streamed exclusively via MetalInsider.net. Frontman, guitarist and vocalist, Heri Joesen, had the following to say about Mare Of My Night:

Mare Of My Night was by far the most difficult song on the album to write, music wise. What I usually do is work on a basic idea, a melody with a chord progression. I make variations over the basic idea and then I pick out the best variations for the respective parts of the song, verse, chorus etc. For this one I had more variations than ever before and I made more versions of this song that I’ve ever done before, so it was very difficult to choose. I’m still not sure I made the best possible song, which is not a satisfying feeling at all. But there you have it.

As for the text, once I went to work on it, it was written in a day or two, in the evenings during studio time. I had the title and the story line long in advance. It’s based on the mare from folklore, the human-like creature that lies on top of you, riding you, causing bad dreams. As in nightmare, riding like a mare etc. Our anonymous viking, the protagonist of the story, finds in this song that his earthly woman has gone from being a goddess to being nightmare. It is also the most sexually explicit piece of lyric I have written so far.

Valkyrja is a concept album with a story line based loosely around an anonymous Viking age warrior who leaves his woman and goes off to impress the Valkyrie on the battlefield so that she may bring him to Valhalla, or to Fólkvangr, the home of Freyja—the goddess associated with love, sexuality, beauty, fertility, gold, sorcery, war, and death. One can say the album is also indirectly about women and how they affect men and what men will do to impress and obtain women. Front man and founder Heri Joensen goes on to explain:

The woman that the warrior leaves may represent the earthly women. Freyja, The Lady Of The Slain, may represent the perfection of Women, and the Valkyrie is the link between the two, taking men from earthly to godly women.

Tyr online:

http://www.tyr.fo/
http://www.facebook.com/tyrband

Interview with Erik Grawsiö (Månegarm)

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 4th July 2013 by izaforestspirit

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The Swedish Viking black metal group Månegarm is one of the most unique and diverse bands in the scene. Iza caught up with their singer Erik Grawsiö to discuss the new album Legions of the North, Viking mythology, line-up changes and movie soundtracks.

Iza: Hi Erik!

Erik Grawsiö: Hello!

I: I’ve read that Månegarm refers to a wolf in Norse mythology that swallows the moon at Ragnarok. Could you explain why you chose that particular name and what it means to you as a band?

E: Yes, that’s right! We had another name when we first started up the band but after only 1-2 months we changed to Månegarm. Jonas was the one who found it and we all thought that it was a better name for the band (than the earlier name) especially since we sang in Swedish about the Norse mythology. The wolf for me is a powerful animal that stands for strength, pride and wisdom. “ It’s better to live one day as a WOLF (originally: lion) than a thousand years as a lamb”.

I: Your music is an interesting mix of styles ranging from black metal, Viking metal with some folk and pagan influences. Which of these styles would you say represents Månegarm‘s music the best?

E: I don’t know really… When people ask I usually just say that we play “metal” or Rock n’ roll. We’re definitely more of a metal band than a folk band but I think that Månegarm‘s music is represented by all of these styles that you mentioned. The diversity and mixture is the strength of Månegarm I think.


I
: What are your thoughts on the tag ‘Viking metal’? Does the genre exist in your opinion? Should it exist?

E: We don’t care much for tags and labels at all. When we started playing this kind of “metal” there were no Viking or pagan or Viking/folk metal; it was just us and a couple of other bands that played the kind of music that we enjoyed playing. This is no problem for us though and if these tags/labels help people get a better picture of a band or categorizing bands, then it is fine by me. The problem nowadays is maybe that there are like thousands of sub-genres/labels and that just makes it all confusing. Let’s put it this way; people can call our music what the f**k they want as long as they like it!!

I: Are there any bands in the Swedish metal scene that interest you? If so, which ones and why?

E: No.

I: Let’s talk a bit about the new album Legions of The North. Was there any specific inspiration for this album or any particular themes that you wanted to portray?

E: No, there is no stated concept or theme that runs through the album but if I remember correctly we first had the idea of a theme which was pretty much “death” from different points of view. Even if we didn’t follow that path totally it maybe stayed in our minds on a both conscious and an unconscious level, because almost all songs came to deal with war and death in different ways, influenced by the Nordic mythology. photo Erik_zpse9c17607.jpg

I: Some of the instrumental tracks on there such as Vigverk sound like old folk songs? What are they based on?

E: Vigverk is a short instrumental piece that can be seen as an intro to the following song Sons of War. The name Vigverk comes from Eddan and can be translated into something like “great deeds” or “great achievement” in English. It is no traditional old folk song; it’s just a song that I wrote since I wanted to have some shorter acoustic tracks on the album.

I: Legions of the North is your 7th album. How do you think it compares to its predecessors, particularly the last one Nattväsen?

E: I think it sort of continues on the same path as Nattväsen but we have worked more on the arrangements and the structure of the songs and especially we have put a lot of effort on the refrains on this album. On the earlier albums (like the first 1-2 albums) our “composing strategy” was to sit down with the guitars, put a bunch of riffs together in a descent way and yep… We had a song!! That’s maybe quite charming and cool in a way but today I think that we “think” music in a better and more serious way and we try to compose “real” songs!

I: Your violin player Janne Liljekvist left the band last year before the album was completed. Has this had any effect on the recording process or the way the album turned out?

E: The biggest effect on the recording process was that the new violin player (Martin Björklund who is a friend of Jakob‘s) only needed 1.5 days in the studio to get all violin parts done instead of Janne who often needed 3-4 days… Janne didn’t write any songs in Månegarm; it’s Jonas and I who write the songs and it’s usually me that writes the melodies for guitar and violin, so him leaving didn’t have any effect on the final result I think.

I: If Månegarm could play a show anywhere in the world without any restrictions, where would you choose and why?

E: I would like our own festival; “Månegarm Open Air” or something like that. It would be cool to start off in a small scale and then turn it into the greatest festival ever!! That’s quite a dream uhh… but you said without any restrictions.

I: If you could replace the sound track to any movie with your music, which one would it be and why?

E: I know it’s a long shot but maybe some of our songs from our acoustic album Urminnes Hävd – The Forest Sessions could serve as a nice soundtrack to a scene in The Lord of the Rings. I don’t know which song would be best and I don’t know for which scene, but when I listen to that album and seeing these films I get sort of the same feelings and emotions…epic freedom, mysticism, grief, joy and emotions like that. I better call Peter Jackson right away!!

I: Do you have any final words for our readers and your fans?

E: Keep your eyes and ears open for our new album Legions of the North! You just can’t miss it, it’s a killer!!! See you all on the road!!

Månegarm online:

http://www.facebook.com/Manegarmsweden/
http://www.deaf-dumb.com/manegarm
http://www.manegarmsweden.com
http://www.myspace.com/manegarm
http://www.youtube.com/Manegarmofficial

 

Ravenage release lyric video plus announced for Bloodstock 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Heathen metal band Ravenage have recently released the lyric video for their song The Road To Retribution (Northbound Part II) that will be featured on their upcoming album which is currently untitled. The song is inspired by Bernard Cornwell‘s Saxon Stories series which follows the tale of Uhtred Bebbanberg. The video can be viewed below.

In related Ravenage news the band have been confirmed to play on the Jagermeister Acoustic Stage at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air. This will be the band’s first Bloodstock appearance in five years. Ravenage will also headline the first night of Valkyrian Festival in November.

Ravenage online:

http://www.officialravenage.com
https://www.facebook.com/officialravenage/

 

Månegarm – Legions of The North

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 7th June 2013 by izaforestspirit

Månegarm
Legions of The North
Released 28th June2013
Viking Metal/ Black Metal
Released via Napalm Records

 photo legions_zps1358826a.jpg

‘Legions of The North’ is the new album from the Swedish viking metal band Månegarm. It is the follow up to their 2009 release ‘Nattväsen’.

After short, atmospheric instrumental Arise we head for the battlefields with the title track offering a good balance of guitar riffage and harsh, almost black metal style vocals. The drum patterns owe a lot to the black metal genre as well. If there ever was such a genre as “blackened viking metal”, Månegarm would be its torch-bearer. Take Eternity Awaits for instance, on one side it has these ultra catchy folk metal style guitar melodies and cheesy backing singers and then there are the frostbitten black metal vocals creeping in. Same can be said for the folk chants in Hordes of Hel. It might sound like an unusual mix, but believe me it works.

The march goes on into wintry forests as Tor Hjälpe sheds any traces of the happy folk tunes and replaces them with some grim black metal. I’m not sure what to make of the clear backing vocals though; they don’t seem to really fit the style of that song… Other noteworthy tracks include Sons of War which features some catchy rock guitar melodies and vocals that mimic war cries and Fallen which reminds me of their fellow countrymen Amon Amarth.

Overall this is album proves there is a lot more to Viking metal than fake swords, horned helmets and drinking tunes. It can be dark and powerful as well as melodic and catchy at the same time, which is a rarity these days.

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Tyr enlist George Kollias for upcoming album; Liv Kristine announced as guest vocalist

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 16th May 2013 by Nico Davidson

Hailing from the Faroe Islands, Týr are currently recording their new album with producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Aborted, Mercenary) at his studios in Denmark. For drum tracking on this album, Týr have enlisted the services of George Kollias, one of metal’s most accomplished drummers, primarily known for his work in Nile, as well as Nightfall. A video featuring drum tracking highlights, as well as a short message from Kollias, is streaming now on YouTube, which can be viewed here.

George Kollias comments on the experience:

Hey Týr fans, this is George Kollias and I hope you are ALL ready for a crushing new album from Týr!!! I had the pleasure to record the drums on the new album, we had an absolutely great time in the studio and I gotta tell you, the material is super strong and catchy, I’m 100% sure you will all love this new album!! Big thanks to Heri, Terji and Gunnar for the opportunity and to Jacob Hansen for his incredible work with the recordings!

Týr comments: 

It was a pleasure to have George in studio. He’s an amazing drummer and he certainly made an impact on this album. We’re very excited to release this album.

A recent announcement on the Týr Facebook page has confirmed that the band has parted ways with drummer Kári Streymoy. The band commented on the amicable split:

We regret to inform you that Kári Streymoy and the rest of the band have parted ways. Kári suffered a back injury in 2008, and since then he has had some issues with his drumming. That is the main reason that the co-operation has been problematic for some time now, and we finally decided to part ways. We want to thank Kári for his time in the band. It’s been great to have you with us, we wish you the best of luck in the future and we hope you recover fully some day.

This album will be the band’s seventh full length effort. One of the new tracks, The Lay of Our Love, will feature a duet with Týr vocalist Heri Joensen and Liv Kristine from Leaves Eyes. In an update on Leaves Eyes’ official Facebook page, Kristine announced:

Dear Viking-Metal Fans & Friends,
I am very happy to announce that I will be joining Týr for the duet The Lay Of Our Love on their up-coming album (title still to be revealed), which is set to be released this Fall. Heri already joined Leaves’ Eyes at our headliner show in Wacken Open Air 2012. This was an absolute highlight during our live performance, moreover, I really like his voice and I am grateful for the invitation. A superb track, with inspiring melodies and lyrics, proving the authenticity of Týr.
Love,
Liv

More details will be unveiled in the forthcoming months as music and art are completed. The band has been posting images from the studio throughout the recording process, so make sure to follow them on their official Facebook page for candid photos and personal updates from the band.

Týr online:

http://www.tyr.fo/
https://www.facebook.com/tyrband
http://twitter.com/tyrband

 

New Northsong album on the horizon

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 31st January 2013 by Nico Davidson

Cortland Runyon, the man behind the Viking metal solo project Northsong, recently that he’s finished writing the lyrics for the upcoming Northsong release. He also stated that he will begin vocal recording next week.

The Final Journey is set to be released through Warhorns Records in late February or March and will be available both physically and digitally. Cortland’s full announcement can be read at this location.

Northsong can be followed at the following locations:

https://www.facebook.com/Northsong
http://www.northsong.net/
http://www.twitter.com/northsongmetal
http://myspace.com/northsongmetal
http://soundcloud.com/northsongmetal
http://www.reverbnation.com/northsong

 

Taake Hits The Road For 20th Anniversary Tour With Helheim and Orkan

Posted in News with tags , , , on 18th January 2013 by Nico Davidson

Norwegian black metal titans Taake today announced the dates for the upcoming European tour which is part of the band’s 20thAnniversary celebrations. Supporting Taake on the tour will be Norway’s Viking metal raiding party Helheim, who themselves celebrated their own 20th Anniversary last year. Also on the tour will be thrashers Orkan whose line up includes members of Taake, Byfrost and Gravemachine. Routing for the 10 date tour as follows:

FEBRUARY
Thu 21, Baroeg, Rotterdam (NL)
Fri 22, Iduna, Drachten (NL)
Sat 23, Helvete, Oberhausen (DE)
Sun 24, Magasin 4, Brussels (BE)
Mon 25, Glazart, Paris (FR)
Tue 26, Ferrailleur, Nantes (FR)
Wed 27, CCO, Lyon (FR)
Thur 28, United Club, Turin (IT)
MARCH
Fri 01, Z7, Pratteln (CH)
Sat 02, Nifflheim Festival (DE) (HELHEIM only)

Of course, if you’re in the UK, you will need to travel to see Taake on their 20th anniversary tour – Disappointing, we know, that they’re not hitting the UK.

Formed in 1993, Taake’s contribution to the Norwegian Black Metal Scene has been considerable; with founder Hoest remaining true to his Black Metal roots, whilst still being able to breathe life and originality into the genre even after twenty years. The band also  recently announced the impending release of a double Anniversary CD which will not only feature exclusive new tracks, but also rare and previously unreleased material as well as alternative versions and recordings that have, until now, only been available on vinyl. This is certainly exciting news for CD collectors. Gravkamre, Kroner og Troner (Tombs, Crowns and Thrones), will be released on Dark Essence Records on the 1st of March in Norway and the 4th of March world-wide.

More information about Taake can be found on the band’s website at this location.

Six tracks from Taake, including the brand new track “Et Pust av Oeyne” from “Gravkamre, Kroner og Troner” can be heard at this location.

 

Incursed – Fimbulwinter

Posted in Review with tags , , on 23rd November 2012 by izaforestspirit

Incursed
Fimbulwinter
Due for release/Released: November 2012
Epic Viking Metal/ Pagan Metal/Folk Metal
Released via Label: Unsigned

‘Fimbulwinter’ is the second album from the Spanish viking metal band Incursed. It is the follow up to their 2010 debut ‘Morituri’. The band has been compared to the likes of legendary viking and folk bands such as Ensiferum, Falkenbach and Mithotyn.

Now, I don’t think I’m the only who has trouble trying to piece together a link between the Vikings and Spain… Oh well.. nevermind, onto the music…

After the symphonic or should I say “epic” (read Ensiferum-style) instrumental intro track ‘Endless, Restless, Relentless’, it’s straight into some pagan metal with ‘Svolder’s Battle’ sounding like mixture of Korpiklaani and Falkenbach with hints of the aforementioned Ensiferum and possibly even Alestorm. Ok, so there’s no real accordions in here but the keyboard and guitars do a pretty good job of ensuring that the song is still catchy. Similar things can be said for the next track ‘Ginnungagap’, which has more of that symphonic feel to it due to the keyboards. The one thing which lets this song down are the vocals, as there are moments when I really can’t make out a single word that this guy is trying to say.

It’s pretty clear that these guys are really into Ensiferum as some of the song structures resemble those of the Finnish folk metal legends. One example of this are the vocal patterns on ‘Jörmungandr’. ‘Homeland’ features a somewhat unusual acoustic guitar intro but then it resumes the pre-set path of the previous tracks offering more of the same Ensiferum-esque folk metal melodies. One thing that sets these guys apart is their Spanish accents which are ever the more audible on the tracks where you can actually make out the words.

This album does have a few surprises, though. One of them is the country and western themed elements of ‘Nordwaldtaler’, which are sandwiched neatly between the folk metal style guitars and keyboards. Another noteworthy track is the catchy instrumental ‘Finnish Polka which really highlights the skills of both of guitarist and the keyboard player.

3/5 – It’s a very Nordic, folk metal sounding album by a Spanish band. I’m somewhat confused by this and I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.

Iza Raittila

Legacy of Vydar – A Hundred Miles

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 30th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Legacy of Vydar
A Hundred Miles
Released 16th October 2011
Death Metal
Self-Released

Hailing come Germany, come death metal sextet Legacy of Vydar. Differing themselves from other bands of the genre, LoV bring with them a three guitar assault on the ear drums, almost like a death metal version of Iron Maiden. Their most recent album, A Hundred Miles was released almost a year ago.

My War, the first track on the album, has a very industrialesque sound that screams from the guitars, while the drums, bass and obviously the vocals, throw in a very powerful, very epic death metal sound. The riffs collide back and forth like raging waves smashing against cliffs. The title track, A Hundred Miles, unleashes a melodic styling upon an unsuspecting listener, almost coming across like an Amon Amarth track.

Too Far really did take me by surprise, beginning with a very melodic, very calm riff that was carried along by a heavier riff and callous drumming before it transforms into a howling beast of aggressive riffs and demonic vocal work. My Soul Unleashed is another Amon Amarth-styled track, only somewhat lacking in energy, which is a shame as I think this track would make for a decent mosh pit anthem. No Remorse displays a use of very intelligently performed riffs that come blasting more fierce and terrifying than the A-bomb. The vocals add a beastly sound that seems like the last piece of the puzzle in this track, completing and making it one of the stand out tracks of the album.

Hope And Despair is a very calm instrumental, that eases you into that false sense of security before the violent wails of The Trail begin charging like a bull that’s just seen red. Vidar, which is undoubtedly about the Norse god of the same name, is another stand out track on the album, displaying influences from varying Viking metal bands while sticking to the band’s own sound at the same time, fusing everything together into a masterpiece of pure death metallic goodness.

Hold On pulls no punches when it comes to melodic riffs and rhythmic drumming. The band have carefully balanced out the aggressive vocals and melodic music in a beautiful and artistic manner on this track, keeping that balance there with the tempo changes as well. For such a bloodthirsty sounding track, Still Alive, sounds subtly cheery and hopeful at the same time, as its violent sounding riffs get the blood flowing. Not The End is certainly an ironic title for a title that is the end of the album. The riffs scream out eerily familiar to Twilight of the Thunder God, invoking a truly epic sound that really gives the album a brilliant end.

Germany is renowned for its metal scene and with Legacy of Vydar on the scene, its going to get much better. Legacy of Vydar are one of the few death metal bands that really do proper melodic riffs and A Hundred Miles really displays each member’s talent as well as the ever-growing sound of the band, so if you like a clean, crisp sound topped with guttural growls and fierce riffs, A Hundred Miles is one for your collection. Hopefully we’ll hear more from these hard rocking Teutonic warriors of metal very soon.

4.7/5

Nico Davidson