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I heard this album back in 1998, and thought that was the most hateful album for a Viking oriented project. And guess what, I listen to it today and still think the same
But let’s start from the beginning, the production of this album is great, it sounds thick, and all instruments are audible, but it still sounds raw and powerful. Maybe the vocals are a little in the background of the wall of sound that guitars and drums create, but fit perfectly well the hateful mood of this album
The riffs are outstanding, being fairly melodic, they have some thrashing moments, mixing fast paced madness with some slow marching “headbanging” moments. The entire album is full of energy, being the guitars the main responsible of this. There is also some Norsecore riffing ala Marduk here, even before Marduk was called Norsecore, and the interesting thing is that those moments aren’t annoying, on the contrary, they give some fresh air to the whole album.
You’ll find no keyboards here, no sir, they are not necessary here, as I said before, the riffing is the most important aspect of this album, so the keys would have a noxious effect by cooling the intensity of the songs.
The drumming is intense and breathtaking, but not as a monotonous Blast Beats machine, they change all the time, and what is killer is the use of the Ride cymbal in the slow marching riffs, I FUCKING LOVE THAT SHIT!!! Bass is, as usual in Black Metal, left at the bottom in the mixing, but is fairly audible.
The songs go from 4 to 9 minutes long, and, to my opinion the outstanding moments are Höfdingadrapa wich is the opening track. It’s a long one, with a lot of changes, it starts growing with some cool drum pattern and some acoustic guitars, to then, after some sword sounds, unleash all the song power, then the album flows with really good and powerful songs, up to The March of Walkire Damned, another long track, full of changes wich has an exceptional and epic guitar work. The next track is the intense Stridsfärd, three minutes of complete rawness and speed, with blast beats almost all the way. And then Spjutsången is unleashed, the closing and perhaps the best one. It begins slow, with some nice melody and then moves to a headbanging riff that will chill your soul, great stuff right there, and this very track ends with one of the most melodic riff of the album.
This is a great album people, get it, and enjoy some powerful piece of furious Black Metal with melodic moments and some Viking melodies and lyrics (at least the ones written in English)