King Of Asgard – “Karg” (Metal Blade Records)
Once again the genius of Karl Beckman has done it. With their awesome debut, King Of Asgard brought to the fore the incredible Norse melodies from their predecessor band, Mithotyn whilst successor “..To North..” was aptly titled in being Viking Metal par excellence along the lines of Amon Amarth but even more Nordic. Well, that trend continues on “Karg” which translates to ‘barren’, which is exactly where this album is – hardly any of those pleasant folk melodies this time, but a full blown epic affair that could almost be a Nordic opera with black metal elements adding to both the furor and atmosphere of the album. The sound reflects that being more stripped down with prominence given to the riffs, although it’s certainly nice to hear Jonas Albrektsson’s bass biting like an axe now too along with Karsten Larsson’s war drums ever faithfully keeping the beat to the sound of battle. Just check out ‘Highland Rebellion’, ‘The Heritage Throne’ and ‘Remnant Of The Past’ and you are there in the great halls of the hallowed dead, on the long ships sailing past snow swept fjords chilled by winds biting into your leather skin as deep Nordic power chords and melodies conjured by Odin’s daughters themselves blissfully caress your soul – truly magnificent – I could row all the way to Norway battle speed just listening to the majesty of this! If that weren’t enough they offer the ultimate tribute cover to Bathory in the form of ‘Total Destruction’, safety inheriting the mantle of Tomas Forsberg’s legacy. I would say as a true Viking Metal band King Of Asgard doesn’t just sing about their heritage or walk around in Norsewear, but the very essence of it resonates true to the band’s hearts and souls that they have brilliantly captured in the awe inspiring material on this incredible album.