The time has come for all you heathen warriors to pick up your battle axes […]
By Erika Kuenstler
November 9, 2015
Månegarm - Månegarm album cover

The time has come for all you heathen warriors to pick up your battle axes and prepare yourselves for the battle of the year! The Swedish Viking horde MÅNEGARM will be pillaging shores once more this November, unleashing their eighth full-length studio album on the unsuspecting world. Released in time for their twentieth anniversary, this is fittingly a self-titled album, and seems to not only be a reflection of their journey over the last two decades, but also what it quintessentially means to be MÅNEGARM in all of their Folk-driven splendour.

Starting off with a soothing acoustic melody, "Blodörn" gradually swells and blossoms into a much more majestic descant that is perfectly countered by the dark and powerful harshly rasped vocals, curtesy of Erik Grawsö. Cleanly sung vocals add a Folkier air, whilst lilting guitar passages add swirls of tempering grace to the song. This comes even more to the fore in "Tagen av Daga", a song that epitomises the majestic Norse heritage. Partly thanks to the infectious riffs and chorus, and partly because of Napalm Record's relentless promotion of the official video, the song "Oden Owns Ye All" has been stuck in my head all week. Intermingling furious shredding with pounding drums that would provide a fitting backing-track to Ragnarök itself, this song conjures up imagery of gods engaged in mighty battles as the nine worlds burn. This frantic melee makes the melancholy of the Folk ballad "Blot" even more poignant, providing a well-needed respite, whilst the female vocals that join in on "Vigverk - Del II" allow for a captivating interplay between the female and male vocals, all backed by a swaying tune on the fiddles. Back into the fray we go with "Call of the Runes", a fast-past thunderous song coupled with a captivating cascading melody. Parts of this song are carried over to "Kraft", albeit with a slower tempo and a more keening edge, giving the album a flowing feel. Unusual instrumental choices amalgamated with clean vocals give "Bärsärkarna från Svitjod" an undeniably unique flavour, whilst "Nattramn" delivers one final skirmish to get your blood pumping. Closing off with "Allfader", an acoustic tune twines around nightingale-like females vocals, bringing the listener gently out of the battle on Valkyrian wings.

This album is very full and varied, weaving a tapestry of soundscapes that could rival the web of the Norns. What I absolutely loved about this album is that there was nothing predictable or mundane about it; each song takes you on an adventure with absolutely no warning as to which way it will turn next. And of course, this is all delivered with a polished and crystal clear recording and production quality. Each song is well structured, yet adds a multitude of dimensions to the overall album, making "Månegarm" a flowing tale of epic adventures, rather than just a mere collection of songs. All round an excellent album that should be one of the crowning jewels in the collection of any Metalhead with a more Folk/Pagan predilection. What are you waiting for? Go preorder it now!

10 / 10


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"Månegarm" Track-listing:

1. Blodörn
2. Tagen av Daga
3. Odin Owns Ye All
4. Blot
5. Vigverk - Del II
6. Call of the Runes
7. Kraft
8. Bärsärkarna från Svitjod
9. Nattramn
10. Allfader

Månegarm Lineup:

Jonas "Rune" Almquist - Guitars
Erik Grawsiö - Vocals, Bass
Markus Andé - Guitars
Jacob Hallegren - Drums

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