Originally reviewed here.
Okay this one threw me too. I decided after some bad experiences that I needed to investigate bands before listening to them. Just to get some kind of an idea of what I am in for. So I checked out the ever-reliable Encyclopedia Metallum for some information about this band. I saw that they were listed as a pagan metal band with lyrical themes about Norse mythology and fantasy. I suppose that may have been true at one time, but it is definitely no longer the case.
My first clue was the album cover. It does not look like the kind of moody landscape picture you would normally expect out of a pagan metal band. It looks more like something that a dirty hard rock band would use. So already things are a little strange.
No, this is something else. While the melodies are somewhat folk-inflected, the riffs have an almost NWOBHM quality to them. These are definitely more traditional metal-based riffs. The vocals are more of a black metal-esque raspy growl. The songs are mostly faster-paced and energetic. Not the kind of sullen, atmospheric quality you would expect in a pagan metal band.
So we have established that this is not a pagan metal band. But enough about that. This is a really fun album. The lyrics are mostly in German so I have no idea what they are saying, but it still sounds as if Varg is having a good time creating this album. As I previously mentioned, some of the guitar melodies do have a folk-like lilt to them. And the guitar melodies are surprisingly upbeat for the most part. The happy sound of the melodies does not really match the hateful vocals, so it kind of comes off a little unbalanced, but for some reason it just works.
As the album goes on, more and more folk elements seem to become present, although this is by no means just a folk metal band. The band may use folk melodies, but their foundation is definitely in traditional metal.