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All-Encompassing - 95%

hailmarduk666, April 2nd, 2013

This album has it all. There are countless infleuces here, from Humppa (Ahnenland), to folk (any of the Bardensang- tracks), pagan metal and a combination of folk and pagan elements all in one. There are driving double bass beats, various vocal styles, synthesizer-induced atmosphere, and excellent guitar work. The guitars are especially important, as the other instruments lay the foundation with which the guitars build upon, and the other elements are assisted by the guitars to build the songs up to a powerful climax.

The first track is short, but sets the stage for the entire album. On "Sudwarts", we are introduced to the importance of the guitars throughout the album. This method where the rhythm section is skirted by the lead guitars is utilized constantly. The listener will find a typical song to include a folk influenced intro, and a gradual incorporation of the other entities of the band. Everything is built up, and all elements introduced in the opening stanzas will come back to play a larger role as the song moves forward. A great example of this is the track "Thing". There is a folky flute/acoustic guitar melody and vocals, which builds into a powerful dueling guitar riff derived from the initial melody and atmospheric synth is engaged. At this point all instruments are moving full force, and a powerful pagan anthem is born. The climax of each track is reached near the end of each song, which allows a reset of sorts, where the folk influences are again allowed to take center stage, and the process is repeated.

Each instrument is important on this album. The drums do a great job of maintaining the frantic pace of the guitars, and the synthesizer lends to the overall power and atmosphere (similar to that of Moonsorrow). The vocals styles range from clean, raspy higher pitched growls, and deep throaty snarls or a combination of the three. This leads to a very full and almost operatic vocal arrangement when attaining the pinnacle point of each track. The guitars, however, are the most versitile and range from acoustic, distorted, and a combination of the two. The dueling guitar style is found on every track, even the fully acoustic ones like "Bardensang- Eschenhain", where each guitar is moving on seperate octaves and gives an incredibly full sound.

The flow of the album is fantastic, and every track leads into the next, sometimes borrowing from the previous one to expound on a melody that is varied slightly. Even though there are three short tracks that are fully acoustic, they fit well because of the fact that all the songs start relatively minimally and build as the song goes on. Every track has a memorable riff, and I find myself headbanging, and double bass air drumming uncontrollably. This is a great album if you like folk metal bands like Moonsorrow, Finntroll, or Månegarm. There is a little bit of everything, and kept me entertained throughout the entire length.

Standout tracks: Louvia - die ewigen Wälder, Runibergun, Ahnenland and Skithingi.