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Kven is a Hulking Heap of Metal - 87%

KanisMaximus, January 10th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Independent

Pär Hulkoff's first album of his solo-project, titled Kven, can only be described as true warrior metal. It's vocals are throaty and coarse, it's songs are about battle, and it's choruses are, well, hulking. Each track packs enough firepower to knock even Odin off his seat, from the bouncy booms of 'Blood and Iron' to the chanting cries of 'Faravid'.

My first thought on the album was that it'd probably sound exceptional if it were accompanied by Joakim Brodén (Sabaton). Pleasantly to my surprise, the third track, 'Ibor & Aio', actually features him, exaggerating the power of Hulkoff as they sing in unison. The guitar solo on this song is also really good. Needless to say, it's one of the best songs on the album. Hulkoff's vocals are definitely great for this kind of epic music, but, as a huge Sabaton fan, Brodén's contribution makes this a top track for me.

The meter and rhyme schemes in most of the verses throughout Kven are almost exactly similar, but that doesn't do much to decrease its appeal. Each song has enough meat and metal prowess and each chorus is so heroic that such a detail is shoved to the wayside. That being said, 'Aegishjalmr' and 'Dragonrider' especially stand out, being structured slightly differently than the rest.

This record is a little more power metal than the releases of Hulkoff's industrial metal band, Raubtier, and it is almost devoid of synth, holding true to it's traditional viking ethos. It only seems to fall short, and even then only slightly, in the guitar solo department. There are a couple tasteful rippers, like the ones in 'Erilaz' and the closing track 'Kvenland Will Rise Again', but as a whole I do prefer the solos in Raubtier.

Any fan of Sabaton, Battle Beast, Amon Amarth, or Brothers of Metal will absolutely love this album. It's a formidable force that pounds and bellows until it's final breath. While the song structures are very conventional, it still has plenty to offer and will instantly get the blood flowing if given the chance to. I thank the gods for this album and I look forward to releases containing the same overbearing vigour from Hulkoff.