King of Asgard – “:taudr:” (Trollmusic)
Having been signed to Metal Blade since 2010, King of Asgard have been quiet over the last few years. Until now. “:taudr:” marks the beginning of a new chapter in the saga of the band. Now on a new label and with new personnel in drummer Mathias Westman and Ted Sjulmark on guitar, there is a praiseworthy steadfastness in the band’s style of Odinist metal. Forged in the mists of Mithotyn, founder vocalist / guitarist Karl Beckman carries on that tradition of dexterously weaving rich Nordic melodies into the material like on closer ‘Upon Raging Waves’, but also on “:taudr:” there is more pagan folk as well as the continuing darkness felt from the last album “Karg”. With the 5 tracks pretty much averaging over the 6 minute mark, King of Asgard don’t tend to go for the fast pillaging tactics of other raiding bands and equally scoff at any hint of commercialism, although the high grade production does lend to an uber sound with all the instruments and those amazing Nordic melodies clearly heard in the mix. Beckman’s harsh vocal style remains but now bassist Jonas Albrektsson adds his soulful background voice, along to the backing choirs and the deep, pagan horns echoing in the background like on opener ‘The Curse and The Wanderer’. There are no longship stage sets or fire pyro needed here – it’s all written into the slashing power riffs and warrior drum beats where the furor of battle meets the spirit world of Valhalla as soaked in the essence of Viking tradition. With a massive emphasis on atmosphere, those ancient traditions resonate clearly on ‘Death…and a New Sun’, where hurdy gurdy meets razor riffing and dull, primordial drumming in blissful unison, while the somberness of ‘…For The Fury of the Norse’ is led by Albrektsson’s bass prominently in the mix until a feedback pulse gives way to heavy anvil drumming with warrior wails and heavenly melodies mixed with gruff vocals and of course, even more catchy Nordic slide riffing. Awesome! If you want to know what real Viking metal is beyond plastic horn helmets and bierkeller battles, then check out the glory of King of Asgard – you will not be disappointed.