Ereb Altor – Ulfven (Viking/Black Metal)

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Free is the Ulfven! The start of Ulfven is a lecture in tales and mythology from the viking ages which lay down the grounds for what is to come. Eventually it blasts off with En Synd Svart Som Sot, the single some of you have probably heard prior to this albums release, which is an epic piece of work that takes Ereb Altor’s Bathory connection closer than ever. If you don’t know who Ereb Altor are then you should know their music is as close as Bathory that you can get in this day and age. Being formed in 2003 from the core of Forlorn and Isole Ereb Altor have been a band every Bathory fan just has to love, me included. Their whole discography is an homage and filled with Bathory like music we all have come to love and respect. With six full-length and one EP prior Ulfven that’s been nothing but top notch viking/black metal music it’s interesting to hear if they can keep it up.

Ulfven is everything Ereb Altor is all about, epic fucking music. With me having Blot – Ilt – Taut as one of my favorite albums last year you know I am a big fan of this type of thing. Ulfven is just as good, if not better initially as the first songs makes me wonder if this is Ereb Altor’s best work yet. However the last songs, which are bonus songs mind you and not on the standard version, lacks and leaves me a bit disapointed after that start of an album. Either way those are just bonus songs and should be seen as such so I am not laying too much value on them.

All you need to know is Ulfven is Ereb Altor on form, showing their teeth and devouring the world bringing ragnarok to us with their music. This is an album any fan of the band or Bathory should get. You know what the best thing about the album is? It is out today from Hammerheart Records!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ErebAltorOfficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ErebAofficial
Label: Hammerheart Records
For fans of: Bathory and Primordial
Favorite song: En Synd Svart Som Sot
Score: 4.5/5

King of Asgard – :taudr: (Viking/Death Metal)

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This is one of those albums I’ve had to wait with before reviewing. Why you ask? Because I had to cool down before giving :taudr: my first listen. King of Asgard is a band I really like and hold in a high regard when it comes to viking metal (together with Thyrfing, Månegarm and Amon Amarth for example). That being said I’ve listened to this album several times and I still find this a good experience each freaking time. Before you even listen to this album you should grab yourself both some meed and beer, maybe even some snacks for the sake of it and get ready for a great time of raiding.

For those of you who doesn’t know about King of Asgard they are a creation of one of the members from Mithotyn Karl Beckmann. Keeping the viking spirit alive they have since then been making albums of high quality and their fourth conquest :tuadr: is of course no different. The memory of Mithotyn lives on in many ways with their releases as the songwriting and folk inspired melodies hits me with the same force as they once did. Having listened to a few tracks on :taudr: I know already that this is another great album to add to their already top notch discography. As a viking lover and a metal lover you just can’t get enough of King of Asgard that’s one thing that’s certain. Out of the five tracks on :taudr: there isn’t a single one I doesn’t like, however there are two tracks I find taking my breath away. Those two are Taudr and Upon Raging Waves, whereas the last one is a homage to everything Mithotyn has ever done. Basically if you want a viking experience this is the album, and the band to go for. Are you a fan of Mithotyn? This is the closest you can get! Love King of Asgard’s old albums? This is just as good if not better (have to say that …to North is hard to beat). Either way every fan of viking music will love this album! The atmosphere and music screams viking music!

King of Asgard’s fourth full-length album :taudr: is out now through Trollmusic.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kingofasgard
Label: Trollmusic
For fans of: Mithotyn and Thyrfing
Favorite song: Upon Raging Waves

Drearyym – Precursions (Melodic Death Metal)

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I’ve reviewed some of the more seasoned bands from Finland so far with Noumena, Mors Principium Est and Wolfheart already granting us sweet melodic death metal releases. Now it’s time to go tapping into the talent pool of new and upcoming acts starting with Drearyym. Drearyym were formed in 2014 and has since then already been able to produce two EP’s and the full-length debut I am about to review Precursions. Precursions features the two songs from the bands second EP Precursions Part I as well as four new tracks. It’s actually quite astonishing that Drearyym are still alive and kicking after the rocky road the band has had with members coming and going during these three years, having had an especially hard time to find a stable drummer in the lineup. Not many bands that find the motivation to keep on going when the start hasn’t been what you might have thought it would be.

To start off these 45 minutes of Nordic tales and great wars is the 3 minute intro Draugr March. It works as a soft introduction to the album that fills it’s role with fantasy like sounding music that tells of the battles that are to come. It’s with In Obsidian we really hear what Drearyym are all about. The growling technique Leevi Kuunila does and battle-fuelled melodic death metal music you hear is influenced by the type of music you’ve heard the Finnish bands Brymir, Turisas and Frosttide perform. Bands I enjoy listening to so that isn’t a bad thing. 1.50 into In Obsidian the song takes a rather interesting turn, carnival music starts playing and it’s actually a smooth transition that doesn’t feel forced in and eventually fades out. A cool touch in my opinion. Nine Divines acoustic intro is a beautiful start that later turns into a brutal symphonic warzone just to five minutes in get some nice piano music together with a sweet guitar solo. These elements makes this song my favorite ones on the album and shows some of the bands diverse style in epic melodic death metal.

Hunter’sTale and Old Barn are also good songs and once Precursions is over I am feeling quite satisfied with Drearyym’s debut. It may not be perfect but for a debut from a band that’s already had some lineup struggles this is solid. Precursions is out now as an independent digital release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Drearyym
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Drearyym1
For fans of: Frosttide and Brymir
Favorite song: Nine Divines

Blood of Angels – Rise of the Fallen Gods (Melodic Death Metal)

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The sunny city of Florida has spawned many big metal bands during the ages so it’s always fun to get a promo with a new band that comes from there. Blood of Angels features current and former members of Motograter, Foreshadow, Denied Til Death, and Leprosy with Rise of the Fallen Gods being the bands debut.

The four-piece combines the American death metal sound from Six Feet Under with the Viking-themed lyrics and melodic touches a la Amon Amarth. Add a bit of Dark Tranquility and Dying Fetus influences in the mix and you got yourself a viking ship set to raid the east coast fast and vicious. The EP is 11 minutes long and features three tracks, Miscreant Deeds of Loki, Odin’s Wrath and The Final War. I find the album growing on me with each track and as Chris Iibucha does a superb job sounding like Chris Barnes (Six Feet Under) I get almost overwhelmed with the flurry of riffs Aaron Robinson (guitar), Michael Stewart (bass) lashes out. As Odin’s Wrath comes on and Chris yells out I AM ODIN I really get into the headbanging groove this Sunday morning. Rise of the Fallen Gods ends with The Final War, which is also the best track on the EP. This is the most punishing track on the album, fast and brutal where Blood of Angels just clicks and pulls of a perfect song to showcase what they are made of.

Rise of the Fallen Gods is a great debut, it grew with each track and I see a lot of promise in Blood of Angels. Rise of the Fallen Gods is out 21st April through Hollywood Collective.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bloodofangels1
For fans of: Amon Amarth and Six Feet Under
Favorite song: The Final War

Valhalore – Voyage into Eternity (Folk/Viking Metal)

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This is a journey, or as the album title says a Voyage into Eternity. Starting off with a storytelling voice and calm melodies it soothes the listeners mind. It eventually becomes a epic symphonic blast of melodies as it was Nightwish together with Eluveitie themselves recording this. Vocals ranges from the high and lows, growling and clean singing. With three members in the band sharing vocal duty it sure does give the album an extra twist and different ways of telling this story of Vikings. The ferocity in the music is like that of the berserker’s of old and the melodies clings on inside your head like the ballads from Blind Guardian or Amon Amarth. Across the Frozen Ocean for example really does make me think about the legendary song The Bard’s Song by Blind Guardian.

I get the feeling of going on adventures when listening to this album. It’s the sort of epic music that takes you to the epic worlds from Lord of the Rings, Witcher or Dragon Age. The use of various types of instruments like mandolin, cello and whistle puts that extra epic mark on Voyage into Eternity. To me Voyage of Eternity is the definition of epic folk music. Not only due to the use of various instruments with great melodies and riffs but also due to the great song-writing and great use of different vocals to deliver a sweet story. Plus the fact I love vikings, any story with vikings in it is a plus in my book!

Valhalore was a big surprise to me. It’s well produced and features so many elements I like in good music this is an instant classic for me. Fans of bands such as Ensiferum, Wintersun, Eluveitie, Blind Guardian and the likes take heed (and of course drink mead). Valhalore are here to stay and their debut Voyage into Eternity is one of the best releases so far this year. Voyage into Eternity is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: /www.facebook.com/valhalore
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/valhalore
For fans of: Eluveitie and Blind Guardian
Favorite song: Guardians of Time

Irrbloss – Irrbloss (Black/Viking Metal)

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Irrbloss is a Swedish word meaning Will-o’-wisp. Fitting name for a black/viking metal outfit that sings about folklore. Irrbloss was formed in 2003 as a one man band by Lord Irrbloss and has since then released one full-length in 2009 (Bloodline) which received high ratings in the metal community. Before putting the band on hold due to Grimr leaving the band Irrbloss also released two EP’s, Yggdrasil in 2014 and the selftitled Irrbloss EP came out last year.

Featuring three tracks and clocking 17 minutes I found this the perfect album to listen to while sipping on my coffee and slowly waking up this rainy Sunday morning. If you haven’t heard Irrbloss before then it is high time you do so and get started with this EP. Irrbloss has to be one of the best black metal acts from Sweden that I’ve heard but yet they have stayed in the shadows, lacking the exposure they deserve and I guess not many know of them. The Wanderer, In Chains and Vindictive and Lori∂i are all three top tracks, showcasing different styles of black and viking metal. Lord Irrbloss vocals are just as great as before, as is his song-writing, production having that sweet mix of dirty black metal sound from the 90’s and not being over-produced. The Dissection like riffs hits me hard whereas I start to wakeup and headbang for a great Sunday start.

Irrbloss selftitled EP is the perfect way to go out in as it showcases some of the bands best moments. I hope the band is only taking a small break as they are simply too good just to vanish. You reading this can make it easier for Lord Irrbloss in his decision to come back by listening to Irrbloss today and become one of the Norse Horders.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Irrblossband
For fans of: Dissection and Moonsorrow
Favorite song: In Chains and Vindictive

Valfreya – Promised Land (Melodic Black/Folk Metal)

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The band’s name caught my eye when I received a promo and I just had to check it out. I found this on The Metal Archives “The band’s name is influenced by one by name of Óðinn, Valföður (Old Icelandic for “Father of the Corpses”) and Freyja, the Vanic deity, sister of Freyr”. A cool fusion of names and from there on I was already in love with the band. Apart from the name the band, as the name implies, sings about Norse mythology and they do it in a very melodic/symphonic (whatever floats your boat) kind of way with with folk and black metal being the two main genres they cross. Promised Land is the Canadian bands second full-length and fourth album over since their formation in 2009.

Promised Land is a concept album following the tale of Eric The Red discovering America while defying the Gods. Between the songs you sometimes have a intermission with a story teller guiding you what has happened and is about to happen. The idea has been done before but I’ve always find it a fun way to to tell a story through a music album. One thing that stood out for me with Valfreya is the band was created by the female vocalist Corinne Cardinal (Crook) who also does the graphic design and is the main composer of the band. Not that often I find black/folk influenced bands have a female in the forefront like that. Kudos to Crook for creating Valfreya and making it all happen as I am sure it can be tough.

Being a concept album I do of course think it should be listened to in full from start to finish. Even more so since it’s a story I like and heard when I was a kid, and I found this a great way to tell the story of Eric The Red. Promised Land is a concept album any fan of Norse mythology will enjoy and fans of symphonic folk with black metal influences will surely have a good time here. Promised Land is independently released and it’s out now!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Valfreya.Metal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/valfreyametal
For fans of: Ensiferum and Wintersun
Favorite song: The Choice