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Absolutely Terrible - 40%

Sargon_The_Terrible, March 2nd, 2008

There are few causes dearer to my heart than pride of race, which is why it pains me so much to see the ethos mangled by terrible bands like this. Wotanorden are a NSBM band from my old home state of Pennsylvania, and while rabid racialists will no doubt defend them thematically, musically this is a waste, and I review it only so people will know how bad NS Folk/Black/Viking Metal can be.

The style here is middle-of-the-road folky Black Metal, with some pretty decent screams and some awful clean vocals mixed in, the riffs are uninspired and lame, the guitar tone is so bad it sometimes sounds like someone in the background is abusing a vacuum cleaner, and the drums literally sound like someone beating on pot lids. If the songs ruled, all this could be overlooked, but when songs that are already bad are saddled with such a wretched recording job, it just makes the whole thing sound extremely amateurish and embarrassing. I'll tell you one thing, this stuff sure does nothing to make me proud of my culture or my race, it just makes me feel bad for all those involved. The only reason this gets even 2 points is because the keyboard instrumentals, like the opener "Kernunnos" and "Vengeance Amidst The Storm" are very nice, and provide some worth to an otherwise valueless disc. Avoid.

Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com

A breath of fresh air to the states' NSBM - 75%

Toujoursfidele, August 2nd, 2004

To correctly label Wotanorden's sound would be pretty difficult. To label it in it's most simplistic form would to just call it Viking Metal. Or even National Socialist Viking Metal. With the NSBM Polish and Greek scenes taking most of the credit for making the top NSBM albums, some forget that a few top bands are coming out of the states as well.

Overall it seems to still run in the vein of Black Metal, though. The vocals are probably the most diverse I've heard and maybe even unique at times. Most of the sounds are dominated by the standard black vocals with a bit of a rasp thrown in. Another form is a much deeper and bolder voice that is used as backup vocals. It's done well as it's not very droney. The third being the clean vocals much like that of Hammerheart-era Quorthon.

Dual vocals are common as well. Though, the lineup isn't quite offical, so I'm not sure if it's two vocalists singing or one singing with another recorded version of himself. Either way, it's very Gorerotted at times.

The intro is a bit long and almost predictable. Perhaps if they had shortened it, it wouldn't be quite as monotious.

The drumming, to say the least, is original. It seems at times that there isn't even a set rhythm and the drummer is improvising throughout each song. He tends to favor the crash/snare combo more so than anything else. The drumming has a hollow trashcan sound at times too. I think it's possible for it to grow on the listener. White Enlightenment would be the best example of the drums going toe to toe with the diversity of the vocals.

Taking a back seat to the drumming and vocals, are the guitars. Though played well, they tend to be forgotten due to the complexity of each song. They truly shine during the instrumental hidden track with a grinding repetitive riff. They even break through the musical chaos on What Once Was Shall Be Again and Mundilfari, and lead slightly, but still add a bit of atmosphere after taking the backseat once again.

And when I say complex and compicated, I don't mean technical. There are a lot of elements going on during each song and it doesn't really have alot of structure. The chaos is what is so appealing about it, though. Once a pattern has been set and everything seems about standard, Wotanorden change it entirely. Schwarzsonne shows off the more melodic side, and not quite as fast paced side of the album as well.

Of course, this is NSBM. The interludes and speeches are to be expected. There's a speech, sounds of war, nationalistic singing in german, and the ever popular sounds of thunder. I don't believe that every listener can appreciate the clips, but I don't believe they're that overwhelming to ruin the entire album. Most are near the beginning or end of a track, so that they may be easily skipped.

The album overall is a breath of fresh air to U.S. NSBM. Maybe even innovative to some, but I believe the music alone can be appreciated by fans of Black/Viking Metal.