Thrudvangar – “Vegvisir”

Thrudvangar – “Vegvisir” (Trollzorn)
Battle Helm Rating

In Snorri Sturluson’s Edda, Thrudvangar is the name of the kingdom of Thor, meaning ‘fields of strength’ which is a pretty apt way to describe this veteran German viking metal band, who are now on their sixth full length studio release. Having been around for the past 20 years, Thrudvangar have become a recognised name in Germany and while it’s been 7 years since they last recorded an album, the fact that the title “Vegvisir” is named after an old Icelandic stave translating as ‘signpost’ and standing for ‘not losing your way’, reflects the band’s determination in remaining true to itself, despite the core line-up changes that have taken place during that time. Produced by Lars Rettkowitz (Freedom Call), the 11 striking tracks prove Thrudvangar haven’t lost their touch judging by the rich, epic material on show here, being a dramatic blend between berserker savagery and nordic melodic bliss. Employing the genre’s trademark sound of Torsten Schildhauer’s double bass drumming, heavy guitars from the twin axes of newcomers Sebastian Rasch and Daniel Stromayer along with Mathias Träbert’s growls and roars, what makes these guys stand in their own right are the bountiful melodies and harmonies, and all with a heroic and epic touch I might add! Making this point no better is ‘Jörmungandr’ with its stirring warrior melodies backed by Schildhauer’s double bass drums and the harsh tones of Träbert, all making for a dramatic performance fusing red blooded aggression with heartfelt passion that should go down a treat live. Maintaining the excitement on ‘Fenrirs Brut’, the chugging twin guitars work up a superb atmosphere through plenty of tempo changes while not losing the strong underlying epic tone that remains as restless as a brooding warrior yearning for his next battle! Opening through stirring harmonies on ‘Für die Ewigkeit’, the fusion of raw riffs and vocals with beautiful melodies show the new style adopted by the band definitely works and is the way forward (in my opinion) as the effect is immense in totally enveloping the listener in epic joy. Thrudvangar have taken a big gamble here but in staying true to their path, have created an absolute winner in “Vegvisir”, whose light I hope shines for them in the years to follow.

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