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WAAAY ahead of it's time... Not what you'd expect! - 98%

VibrationsOfDoom, September 25th, 2004

As the topic above says, every time I listen to this album it is VERY difficult for me to believe it was recorded in 1979. The lyrics especially, which espouse the Viking and fantasy themes (at LEAST quite a few years before the band I consider to be one of the first Viking Metal bands in Faithful Breath, possibly around the same time as Heavy Load) were very UNTYPICAL for this day and age. 'The Golden Bell' is a great epic tune about a quest for, well, a golden bell, a boat borne trip fraught with perils and disasters. 'From The Fjords,' the song, is about the Viking pillage and destruction trek, which was quite gruesome for it's day, as well as 'The Destroyer,' a song sung from an omnipotent god or deity's point of view, which was very original. 'The Destroyer' is a fantastic start, with some unusually catchy and melodic guitar work that you will NEVER forget, and will probably be whistling while at work. The vocals are astonishing as well, very melodic and quite soothing, but on a track like 'The Wizard's Vengeance,' he can definitely sound ominous and dark. 'From The Fjords' has some very interesting guitar work that is just downright heavy in spots, and the whole recording has both darkness, heaviness and this feeling that you have to listen to to describe. Check out the Viking styled multi vocal chants on 'The Golden Bell,' and though the band hailed from the U.S. (which makes their Viking fascination that much more impressive) they had that sound by at least a full 10 years or so before Amon Amarth, Einherjer, Moonsorrow and the like started incorporating it.

Asides? Well, though the above reviewer disagrees with me, I think the two instrumentals are quite stunning. Besides the framework and context of a song format, these instrumentals show off the drums and guitars quite well. The drummer is a monster, and that guitar riffing NEVER gets tiring. I do admit that on 'The Iron Horse' things go on a bit long, but I'll still listen anyway. 'R.A.R.Z.' sounds a tad silly with the clip clop sounds and wierd twangy country guitar, but it's not a terrible track, just one of their weakest that almost seems out of place with everything else. You can, of course, listen to the entire album at, and I must say out of all 500 something 80's metal albums in my collection, THIS album is so easily in the top 3 of best records of alltime. This album blew my mind when I first heard it and it STILL, NEVER ceases to become amazing to this day. THey even had the balls to do epic 8 minute songs long before the power metal or the doom metal generation picked up on this!! All hail Legend! (As a side note, this was supposed to be reissued on CD by Monster Record, but it is taking WAAAY too long, as there are said to be bonus tracks which I am dying to hear!)