Månegarm – “Fornaldarsagor”

Månegarm – “Fornaldarsagor” (Napalm Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Well, if you’re gonna write an album about the great adventure sagas such as ‘Hervararsagan’, ‘Völsungasagan’ and ‘Saga om konung Ragnar Lodbrok ochhans söner’ (the Saga of King Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons), then you’d better call it “Fornaldarsagor”. Yessir, Månegarm have struck a golden booty worthy of their ancestors on this unbelievable 9th release! Epic isn’t the word to describe this album as it’s almost definitive of the viking metal genre, standing proud in its own right, sailing in some of the most stirring pagan melodies and resonating spirited passion in every oar stroke. Recorded by the 3 piece of Erik Grawsiö (vocals, bass), Markus Andé (guitar) and Jakob Hallegren (drums), “Fornaldarsagor” is a truly impressive achievement blending viking metal, pagan folk and even blackish elements together into the 8 mind blowing tracks here, accompanied in some cases by folk pipes, acoustics and fiddles. But beyond the musicianship is the composing, deep and hugely passionate as carried by the stirring viking pagan melodies both within complex as well as simpler song structures – but always reaching ever so emotionally into your heart and soul. So feel the axe bite on the lightning fast raid of ‘Tvenne drömmar’ through its double bass hammering and catchy scandi riffs made even more potent by a blinding melody from a mean fiddle that are complemented by deep warrior choirs brilliantly contrasted by Grawsiö’s own blackish drawls. Slowing the oar pace on ‘Ett sista farväl’, a tender female voice joins the choirs and that fiddle once more as pipes and Grawsiö’s soaring soul add both passion and atmosphere before Hallegren’s double bass drums come in at various speeds to inject some drama, ultimately culminating in the stirring folk pagan passion of all the instruments and voices. But if it’s glory you seek, then the 7 minute ‘Krakes sista strid’ will bask you in it, from Grawsiö’s alternating soul with hoarse vocals already bringing in pagan melodies that are added to even more movingly by beautiful folk pipes and that truly devastating fiddle, made all the more epic by huge wave crashing drums and deep warrior backing vocals that sing long into the night….It’s nothing short of gold on “Fornaldarsagor” my brothers and sisters.

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