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Struck Before Assumption - 95%

Rhapsorizon, October 1st, 2007

Just as the first track, "Windzeit," finished, I was going to jump in prematurely, and think "Wintersun?" But upon just concluding the second track, "Wolfszeit," I was going to jump in too early and say out loud "Ensiferum?" However, suddenly, a good thing happened: The style deviated, and in a damn good way.

This powerful, fairly new, German "Pagan" metal band (category debatable) has stunned me with their deliciously precise and technically articulate performance. To add to the tasty combination of technical drumming, shredded riffs, beautiful melodic leads and diverse, harsh vocals, the lyrical theme is committed solely to Norse mythology, and refers somewhat to Asatru/Odinism. Interspersed with blasting metal frenzies, are tastefully-composed mini-sections of folken intermissions, played on nilon accoustic guitars, with atmospheric sounds to compliment the music, such as water, wind, synths, etc., which has the key effect.
Although each song deviates somewhat from each previous track in style and vocal performance, there is still that apparent element of Viking horde endeavors, enstated by the powerful vocals and very prominent Viking style. In the track "Schlachtgebet," an extremely eccentric and moving sound track, containing the sound of a very desparate man, repeatedly bellowing "ODIN!!!", followed by German chanting (of which I couldn't understand, unfortunately) is one of many areas in the effort where the primary elements of strength and honour, in devotion to the Norse Lords are.

Production-wise, this masterpiece is next to perfect. Although the bass has been somewhat under-mixed, it is well-compensated by the professionally-done drum, guitar, synth and vocal mixing.

Sitting and listening to this album over and over again, has brought me to a deep trance, reflecting on my roots and our ancestor's history as a continental force. This is certainly on the line of national pride and vigilance. With this album, in alliance with similar metal ensembles, pounding in the background, it sets imagery of clashing forces, on one side is a ruthless desire to destroy, rape and pillage, and on the other side, is the desparation to remain vigilant and defensive at all costs. In this respect, this album sets the bar for many in a powerful merging of Pagan and Viking ideals and aspiration and extreme melodic metal.
Absolutely magnificant.