Saturday, November 22, 2014

Music Review: Skogen

I love Melodic Death metal as much as the next greasy metal head, especially of the viking/pillaging variety. Amon Amarth is always a good time, especially their new album, which is super killer.  To this day, I listen to Einherjer's Odin Owns Ye All at least once a week.  When I see a review that starts with the words Folk, Viking, or Melodic, with some death metal tags attached, I am usually all in, especially if it has the proper ratio of Valkyries to Fire Gods on the cover.  Once in a while, though, I want my vikings to be bleak instead of rollicking- I want songs about the wretched few days after the epic battle, as opposed to the "check out my huge sword totally not a stand in for anything else I promise".  So, where does one go for that?  Well, here's one place, dear readers.

Now that, THAT, is an album cover.

Skogen- I Doden 

This is what happens when you combine the stark minimalism of Black Metal (complete with grindy guitars and raspy vocal churn) with the folkish stylings talked about above.  Since all of the lyrics are in some language other than 'Merican, I don't know how many songs wax poetically about the glories of battle and so forth, but based on the cover and the general vibe of the music, I would say very little.

Musically, this acts as a neat gap between the more melodic side of the folk metal spectrum and the harrowing sounds of your average Black Metal groups.  There are some clean guitar parts, a few clean singing bits, but most of this is more along the extreme side of the music line.  The songs tend to swirl around a few central riffs, but man, what riffs they are.  You get the impression that these are the songs for the vikings left behind, watching their fellows fly off to Valhalla while they stay there bleeding out into the snow.

The production is perfect for music like this, with the buzzing guitars underlying everything.  Yiu can even hear the bass, which is always a nice plus on Black Metal albums.  If you are into vikings, but think sometimes the songs might get a bit too gallopy (and don't even get me started on Alestorm), this might be right up your alley.   Check out this song, turn the lights off, and pour out some mead for your dead homies:


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