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Raw as Hell - 95%

KayTeeBee, October 12th, 2004

Huh? Viking metal from Canada? Well I have to say I was impressed when I saw that this was a raw viking metal artist from Canada, since america has very few viking bands. Lien has Norwegian ancestor, maybe that explains it. Anyways what we have here is not your typical viking metal filled with keyboards, flutes and whatever, this is a fucking raw release. Not only is this very raw, but it's also extremely epic, and it doesn't sound like the viking metal we're used to hear. This album has almost no acoustic interludes (except one in the middle of the album), it's just pure raw riffage 95% of the time.

The album starts off with an ambient instrumental track, that gives an ancient war feeling. The next three songs are simply incredible viking/black riffage, with some slower parts and some parts being more up-beat. Sometimes the chord progressions are a bit too repetitive or cliched, but they always remain very unpredictable. The acoustic interlude of this album, "Treskjareren", is not your usual acoustic interlude. This is two acoustic guitars playing an extremely classical and epic song. It could be a bit longer, but since it's an interlude that's
ok. Something is just so nice about this interlude: usually during interludes I feel it's just some relaxing music to have a break from the heavy riffage, but this one is simply beautiful and breathtaking. And now we're in for another two songs long of headbanging, and the riffage is still as raw as before. Then we have a second interlude, "Morgendis". I have to say I didn't expect an acoustic song three track before the end of the album, but it's still nice. It doesn't sound at all like the previous interlude, this one is just strummed chords with seashore effects
in the back. "1030" is the last "real" song on the album, and this one is a bit slower, with slower drums and guitars riffs. It's instrumental, but it varies enough throughout the song to stay interesting. The final song of the album is without guitars or drums, just ambience and some keyboards. It's very dark, and it reminds me of a the end of a cold winter storm. The album ends with a fade-out.

This album is very simple, but raw and epic as hell. Stunning acoustic interludes and true riffage, this album will surely satisfy all black/viking metal
fans. It's that fucking simple.

Aural War - 100%

_D_, April 28th, 2004

From Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, comes this seething extreme black metal attack brought forth by Norwegian descendant, Nordavinden, who handles all vox, guitars (and piano on the piano-only closer, "Trondskogen"); teaming up with session drummer, Rali, who lends his blasts and overall greatness to Nordavinden's mid-era Immortal (i.e. 'Battles In The North')-style all-out chaos, interrupted a few times with tasteful, brief acoustic instrumentals. This is music to destroy the world by. Complete aural vision of war and death. An intense urgency, broken up with a few ideas of stop/start pauses, is present, along with the mildly obscured rhythmic patterns that bring to mind the truest of circumstantial black metal. (The only musical form capable of bringing this dark, violent expression to the fore.) The thickness of guitar tone adds to the dark and hateful aura, and drums are a crystal clean, untriggered battery. Clocking in at under 30 minutes, the only complaint is the brevity of this and the delay of their upcoming release, 'Raping The Ancient', also released through White Legends.