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Viking Metal That - 77%

RHEG, October 3rd, 2007

Here we have the sophomore album by the viking/black metal outfit known as Wolfchant. It’s a solid block of heathenism in its entirety and has everything you’d expect from a release like this. It’s apparently a concept album about the Clan of Cross but a quick search on Wikipedia gave me nothing. It’s probably a real story since Ruhn is a place in Germany but I haven’t heard the story, so meh. You don’t need to know the concept anyway since this album offers everything within that context. Killing Christians, praising the Gods of Old, ascending in to Valhalla and drinking, what more could you want?

It’s full of mid to fast tempo riffs with some melodious keyboards paving the way setting the atmosphere. The drumming isn’t full of blast beats and double bass, which is always a good thing on albums like these. The vocals are the typical black metal shriek. They’re fitting to the music and aren’t too harsh. The vocals all sound a bit different on every song so expect a bit of variance in them. On one they’re lower than on the other or vice versa. This is best heard on “Visions of Death” which despite being a filler track is not a song I’d recommend you skip. The songs themselves are nice and have plenty of melodic moments, rising tempos and epic moments. Beautiful stuff but that’s where it falls short.

The album delivers everything you could want; unfortunately, on the way there the box fell and broke some of the finer pieces. What I mean is the production is bad. In a black metal album that’s probably nothing to concern yourself with but on a viking/black release you need some extra edge. Everything sounds fuzzy and mashed together. Everything is dull and you can’t seem to feel the music as well as you should. I found myself constantly thinking that this part could have sounded better or maybe this could have has more of an impact. They attempt to bring about mood changes and epic passages but when everything is on the same level and crumpled you can’t achieve it. All that’s left is an empty feeling of what it should have been.

To be fair it’s still has some good tracks that fans of viking metal shouldn’t miss. If you enjoy this style of metal or get chill bumps at a well-executed mention of Valhalla (like I do) then you’ll love it. It isn’t spectacular otherwise, though.

Standout tracks: Of Honour and Pride, Revenge, Visions of Death, Praise to All.