Valknacht – “Le Sacrifice d’Ymir” (PRC Music)
Despite their Germanic name, Valknacht are actually from Quebec, where they are ranked the premiere pagan black metal band! Formed in 2005, the band are already on their 3rd album with “Le Sacrifice d’Ymir”, based on the Nordic myth of Odin, Vili and Vé killing Ymir, the ancestor to all jotnar, so that his body can be used to create a world. No less complex and steeped in myth is Valknacht’s music, drawing its epic glory from legends like Bathory and mixing it with heaps of traditional folk melodies played through flutes and violins and backed by sombre choirs. Very stirring stuff indeed befitting the ancient tales of the Battle of Stiklestad on ‘Chants de Guerre’ or Boudica’s uprising against Rome on ‘Sur Les Ruines de Rome’ – complete with some cool femme pagan screams – that almost take on an operatic feel not to mention the grim wailing intro sounding the arrival of the Vikings to Britain’s shores on ‘Normannorum ira’. Whilst the actual musicianship of the band itself is completely competent, it is their quality composing and excellent song arrangements utilising the full measure of their talent and backing sounds (much as master Quorthon did) that makes their music so powerful and utterly irresistible resulting in an album worth sacrificing for!