Formed in 2016 this trio from Germany has slowly but surely crafted their debut album The Rise of Norn which is melodic death metal to its core but with that epic stamp that bands such as Wolfheart, Kalmah, Wintersun, Ensiferum and Brymir are known for.
Especially Brymir and Ensiferum are two of the bands I draw parallels to while listening to The Rise of Norn. While I could wish some more orginality there is no denying Vagrant has released a solid debut album and taken influence from some great bands while writing this. With a nice slow paced intro “The Whispering Sea” it draws the listener in for a groovy riff fest with subtle orchestral parts in “Blinded by Destiny”, a good start. “Deceptive Similarity” starts out insanely heavy, Amon Amarth like, but sadly it quickly slows down and basically becomes the ballad of the album. It took me a few spins to appreciate this song, which I did in the end mind you. But I do wonder how it would sound if they did a more heavy song, with that melodic epic death metal buzz to it. I personally think that would sound even better.
“Darkness During the Reign of a Black Sun” gives me a straight up folk metal vibe a la Ensiferum with some nice solos to come with it. Whereas “Spirit of Valor” later on really capture that said epic spirit added more great symphonic elements and the whole shabang which makes it my favorite song on the album together with “Blood on a Crow’s Break” which ends the album on a high note.
The Rise of Norn delivers exactly what I expected from Vagrant going into this. A solid debut that has a few flaws but is ultimately something they can build on. The genre is a tough one to break into but skilled musicians as they are I’m sure they can do so in time.
Written by J.B.