|Black Metal, Viking Metal, Folk Metal
July 2nd, 2013
Release length: 52:21
Things kick off with a dismal two-and-a-half minute march to war. While tense and slow building, it could have easily had thirty seconds, even a minute shaved off, as it does start to get a bit boring after the first time with it. “Legions of the North” hammers in with a cold and grim blackened hatred, playing off the calm before the storm quite well. The chorus takes on a bit of an epic vibe, and about half way in some folk instruments kick in. “Tor Hjalpe” is another of the rare Black Metal fueled tracks, masking the atmosphere dismal once more as the music hammers away. Sometimes it carries a venomous intent, but much of the time it’s a bit bland, relying largely on the bass guitar that simply isn’t strong enough to drive the track home.
Not all songs are downtrodden and forlorn. Many are rather upbeat and glorious, even if portraying a rainy landscape. “Hordes of Hel” is a prime example. The music isn’t as energetic as some of more Black Metal oriented performances, but the material here is simply fun with a catchy beat the bass kicks often push forward atop some additional folk instruments. The vocals really have a great deal of power behind them in the chorus, really shining through with cleaner singing. “Fallen” is a simple track with a bit of a gallop to the Viking Metal riffs and a mixture of harsher gutturals and clean, somewhat chanting style vocals. “Sons of War” is a heavy hook-driven piece that treads into early Gothenburg-era Melodic Death Metal. Aside some harsher verses scattered about, this features an uplifting atmosphere later on. The track itself is a bit thin, and one of the few that really allows the awkward thud of the bass kicks to stick out.
Legions of the North is a rather sleek Metal album that blends Folk and Viking Metal together well, and bares some Black Metal fangs now and then. Sure there is the extensive intro, mixture of light click and thud of the bass kicks, and even erratic atmosphere shifts, but you also get a strong album with plenty of solid, quality performances. If you haven’t heard of Manegarm yet, let Legions of the North be a welcoming first experience.
01. Arise – 2:30
02. Legions of the North – 4:52
03. Eternity Awaits – 5:26
04. Helvegr – 0:17
05. Hordes of Hel – 5:16
07. Tor Hjalpe – 5:24
07. Vigverk – 0:38
08. Sons of War – 5:46
09. Echoes From the Past – 6:53
10. Fallen – 5:31
11. Forged in Fire – 6:25
12. Raadh – 3:22
|Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10