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A top-notch end to the brilliant Vikings trilogy - 80%

TrooperOfSteel, May 10th, 2012

Rebellion guitarist Uwe Lulis has led an illustrious career in the metal scene and is renown as one of the more popular and prominent metal guitarists around today. Beginning his journey with Digger in the late 80’s, and then the short lived Hawaii after the demise of Digger; Lulis stayed on with vocalist Chris Boltendahl and the resurrection of Grave Digger. Lulis would play a huge part in Grave Digger’s re-emergence in the 90’s, playing on the band’s most well known and successful albums. Lulis then left the band in 2000 and just a year later formed power metal band Rebellion with ex-Grave Digger bassist, Tomi Göttlich.

Working the same kind of formula from when Lulis was with Grave Digger, the first release for Rebellion was a disappointing conceptual album based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. ‘Born a Rebel’ followed in 2003 and was completely different from their first release, being a lot harder and stronger and a true heavy metal album.

Then in 2005, Rebellion found a winning combination when Lulis would write another conceptual piece, a trilogy about the Vikings and Norse Mythology. The first two albums of this trilogy have received great acclaim, particularly the second entitled ‘Miklagard’; which was considered a breakthrough album for the band. It was also my #1 best album of 2007, beating out Helloween’s ‘Gambling With The Devil’ and Nightwish’s ‘Dark Passion Play’ for the top spot.

Writing about Vikings and Norse Mythology, the music which accompanies the three albums is bombarding fantasy power metal, but with a harder, darker edge and no cheese; ala Manowar and early Cryonic Temple. Incorporating a Scandinavian metal feel with their music, the Vikings trilogy is an extraordinary fighting musical journey of the captivating history of Norse Mythology.

The 3rd and final disc in the series is called ‘Arise: From Ginnungagap to Ragnarok – The History of The Vikings Vol. III’, very lengthy for a metal album title but who’s really nitpicking here. For those not familiar with Norse Mythology and the reference of the two names in the title, I urge you to check out Wikipedia for more information.

“War” is the fierce and speedy opener which sets the fiery atmosphere for the remainder of the album, and also beginning the story for the final climatic chapter of this ancient trilogy. Part way through the CD we get to arguably one of the best tracks on the album, “Odin”. The track is quite bombastic with a thunderous galloping beat and riff, a true power metal song if there ever was one. The raspy and gruff vocals of Michael Seifert, who is similar in style to Chris Boltendahl, strikes out with power and authority; much like those proud sword-wielding Vikings in these mythological tales.

The CD rages on with more top tracks including the 9 minute epic metal hymn “Thor”, which builds slowly but rises to a mighty orchestral finish. The aggression on the album heats up with the two tracks “Evil” and “Loki”, with “Evil” containing a huge blasting beat with tons of speed and grating vocals from Seifert; while “Loki” is hard as hell with sweeping fast riffs to get your head banging. “Prelude” is another standout track, both heavy and melodic; again the aggressive riffs the killer, with a wicked solo in the middle to boot. Other tracks worth mentioning is the melodic and catchy “Arise” and the mid-paced “Runes”, with Seifert holding his own with a great emotional performance.

With the trilogy now at its end, I felt that ‘Arise’ continued the quality and direction of the previous two albums exceptionally well and overall is a very solid release with plenty of power, aggression and speed. I would say that ‘Arise’ does holds its own again the super impressive ‘Miklagard’, but is slightly down a notch in terms of catchiness. Nevertheless, the album still kicks ass and should be highly appealing and swiftly sort after by Rebellion and Grave Digger fans alike; and also fans of epic/power metal should be taking a big interest in it too.

The Viking trilogy has been the golden tressure in Rebellion’s discography thus far and it will be very interesting to see just where they go from here now that the 3-part concept has drawn to a close. Whatever they do, the metal world will be watching and waiting...

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