Månegarm – “Månegarm” (Napalm Records)
Månegarm is a Swedish Viking / Folk metal band who formed back in the mid 90s, releasing some seven prior albums and being a name at some of the smaller Euro festivals like Metal fest Open Air, Kaltenbach Open Air, Party San and Summer Breeze. They’ve certainly had their ups and downs over the years, changing their style, labels and line up several times over. However, having signed onto Napalm has brought the stability they needed, now amply rewarded in this stunning self titled album. Taking their name from a legendary Norse wolf, Månegarm today concentrate on full blooded Viking metal and incredibly passionate folk material, either of which is sure to satisfy the pagan lust of any red blooded warrior! Led by bassist / vocalist Erik Grawsiö, they have some of the most powerfully epic material I’ve ever heard, ably mixing in natural instruments like the jaw harp, fiddle and accordion into battle metal characterized by hoarse vocals, furious double bass drumming and of course, kiss my axe riffs! The contrast couldn’t be more striking as the incredibly rich Norse melodies and harmonies sail you away on a different adventure to a time and place that only your dreams can summon like on ‘Blot’, a beautiful acoustic piece complemented by ethereal femme harmonies while on ‘Odin Owns ye All‘ they clearly give Amon Amarth a challenge with chugging riffola and double bass drumming – like two longships racing each other to rape n pillage heh heh. It’s all brought spectacularly to life by Markus Andé and Jonas Almkvist superbly passionate dual guitar Norse melody soloing – aye, fear the Northmen’s battle cry of ‘Odin’ indeed! When it call comes together like on the mid tempo ‘Tagen av Daga‘ nothing can prepare you for the majesty of manly warrior choirs, guttural vocals all in time to some more amazing Norse melodies complete with a dancing fiddle – man, there is so much to offer from this highly impressive but understated band! Loadsa bands might up their drinking horns, but Månegarm sing it from the heart and I salute them on this stupendous album.