Into every reviewer’s lap, some crap will surely fall. Now, I can’t complain too much since I’ve had a pretty crap-free run so far as a scribe for the mighty and esteemed Angry Metal Guy. Sadly, that run has now come to a sudden and painful end with Arise, the second album from Germany’s Fimbulthier. I had never heard of these gents before but apparently their 2007 debut was some kind of viking/death metal hybrid, which by the looks of online reviews, didn’t exactly warm the cockles of the metal minded among us. Arise however, is about as viking as Pee Wee Herman in drag. No, seriously, maybe I misread the band description and it said Tricycling metal because there is nothing remotely close to viking metal here. What there is plenty of however, is awfulness and dreck.
Apparently somewhere between 2007 and now, Fimbulthier decided to trade in their viking armor and war hammers for teeny bopper angst and sub-standard, Gothenburg style melodic deathrash and no one is better off for this decision. From the first moments of opener “Fall Apart,” we are greeted with horribly bad melo-death vocals that sound more like a bitchy teen than an angry demon or Cookie Monster. To go along with the terrible vocals are riffs lifted shamelessly off early In Flames albums. Just listen to the riff at 2:50 of the opener and then listen to “Jotan” off of Whoracle, then contact the authorities because you just witnessed some copyright abuse (oddly, the same or very similar “borrowed” riff also appears later at 3:28 on “The Chosen,” thereby making this album a major crime scene). In nearly every song there is a riff or solo that makes me swear I heard it ten years ago from a much better band. As bad as the riff issue is, the vocal problems actually get WORSE after the opening track and become even more annoyingly whiny on “Shattered Remains,” and this trend continues until we arrive at the dreaded “so bad it’s funny” level of asstastic.
As Arise devolves, we get more In Flames riff recycling along with some Amon Amarth aping (“Ghost Town”), Running Wild borrowing (“Rise”) and Soilwork tampering (pick pretty much any other track) and all of it poorly done. The highlight of suck arrives with “Two Worlds,” where Fimbulthier uncorks a whopper of a cheeseball power metal riff, adds terrible death/tantrum vocals and seasons liberally with F-bombs for good measure. This works about as well as peeling a potato with your nose, but at least it’s high in comedic value. That reminds me, did I mention there are clean singing moments throughout Arise that are actually worse than the failed death vocals? I better throw that fact in as well just to save innocent metal heads from making a terrible mistake. Of the ten songs here, only “886” failed to annoy and offend me, my ancestors and my deity, since it’s an instrumental and devoid of the horrifically bad vocals that blight the rest of the material here.
I’m unsure what else needs to be said about this platter of timid mediocrity to discourage you, the reader, from wasting time and/or money on it. If you love the Gothenburg style of melodic death (which I surely do), there are so many albums out there that can satisfy you and all will be better than this one. If you are a completest and must have all new melo-death, it’s time to make a critical exception. If you know the band personally or are actually in the band, I guess you have to listen, and for that I am sorry. Everyone else, give this a wide berth and look elsewhere for quality metal, for none is contained herein. Beware of Fimbulthier, Beware.