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Of Strength and Humor - 92%

HealthySonicDiet, December 12th, 2003

The first thing that struck me about this band are the vocals. I guess it may be a typical Viking style, but it sounds awfully close to gremlins or a milder Dani Filth. Not bad, just humorous. As far as the music goes, it's great epic stuff that boils pride in your blood. The first song, Tyven, is an instrumental and it perfectly captures the adventurous Viking atmosphere. The melody in this song is reprised later in the last song, Sankaritarina. Anyway, the second song, Sankarihauta, trudges along at a lazy tempo and features a prominent jew's harp. This instrument resurfaces several times on the CD. Well, there's not much for the way of solos in this song, but the drunken Viking choirs sound especially resonant, with a chorus of "Ah"s.
The third song is Kylan Paasaa, which is my favorite off the album. It begins with a jews harp, then furiously erupts into a simple guitar riff with more indistinguishable "ahs" before becoming an extremely catchy melody that doesn't sound too far removed from a Disney movie, seriously. Fortunately, the vocals don't add to the Disney effect. One cool thing about this song is how fast the vocals are. There's definitely some vocal skill at work here. Later on, as the song heats up, there's a Celtic instrument that plays for awhile; then the heavy guitars come in and mimic that same melody from the Celtic instrument. Then the guitars go to a lower octave with the same melody. There's more awesome guitar-playing and the song closes with very inspiring shouted Viking vocals and Celtic instruments. The following song, Hiidenpelto, is nothing too special. This particularly song is very hypnotic and trancelike. Following this comes Aurinko Ja Kuu, which is the second best song on the album. It begins with smoky acoustic guitar-playing before shifting to a massive sound wall of guitars and more "Ahs". This song has a very bludgeoning chorus with great Celtic melody layered over the guitars. Later on, a transitional period comes in the song that sounds like 80's techno pop, but then gives way to a truly inspiring closing. The last song, Sankaritarina, is a fourteen minute epic and begins with the sound of a fire crackling, orchestration, and then some more drunken Viking choirs. There's nothing technically impressive about this song, but it does capture the fury and intense pride and emotion of the Vikings. The ending reprises the melody of Tyven and features some mystical sounds of wind blowing. Truly magical. For people just starting out in Viking metal, this is definitely one of the first CDs you should buy.