King of Asgard - :taudr:Little was I aware when trawling the remainders of the promo bin for bands containing the word “king”1 but King of Asgard are a well-represented band around these parts. Both AMG and Steel Druhm have enjoyed their past work. Their brand of Viking-themed, folksy, black metal was praised for its stellar riffing and sword-swinging energy. In light of their tenure, the green light was given to their new EP, :taudr:. Comprising just five tracks over thirty minutes, I at least anticipated something which would be sharper than the hour-long albums which are becoming the norm.

As ever, the component instrumentation of :taudr: is executed proficiently. Generally, there’s a good duality of sawing, tremolo-picked guitars to generate intensity and atmosphere with chunkier riffs for groove and melody. For example, the lead on the title track has a definite swing and the riff around 2:30 on “The Curse and the Wanderer” has a cool upwards inflection, among other neat moments. Mimicking this, there’s also a satisfying duality in the vocals which split harsh rasps and Viking-style chants. The chanted melody on “Death… and a New Sun” is fairly catchy and the call-and-response chorus on “… For the Fury of the Norse” is a highlight of the EP. Most impressive is the drumming which is surprisingly varied for black metal and features interesting rhythms. The cannoning entrance to “The Curse and the Wanderer” makes for an appropriately immediate and cacophonous introduction and the aforementioned title lead melody is supplemented by headbang-worthy rolls.

It’s, therefore, unfortunate that these strands aren’t tied together into much that’s truly memorable. I’m not compelled to listen to :taudr: beyond my reviewing obligations. The fundamental problem is that the songwriting lacks focus and consequently feels bland. It doesn’t definitively step in any particular direction: there are gestures to blackened ferocity which are tempered by snippets of catchy vocal melodies which are again at odds with the riff-dominated passages. These elements function counter-productively.

A few extra niggles also compound this general and damning deficiency. “… For the Fury of the Norse” has a disconnected and irrelevant extended introduction and 1 more chorus than is really required which ensures a potentially good track loses impact over its duration. The opening two tracks are both quite forgettable beyond a couple of moments. And while the drums are given decent space at the bottom of the mix, the bass guitar is lost.

In all, it says a lot when the most well-rounded and fulfilling song is the cover of Mithotyn‘s “Upon Raging Waves.” Apparently, I’m the ugly duckling compared with my superiors but there’s so little to write home about here. The nuggets of vitality are encased in mediocrity and I’ve found no reasons to listen to :taudr: later today, let alone later in the year. A bottle of mead offers twice the Viking experience for the same price.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Trollmusic
Websites: kingofasgard.com | facebook.com/kingofasgard
Releases worldwide: March 17th, 2017

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  1. king felchgod a-sock-n’-tits?
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  • Eli Valcik

    Damn, I loved KOA’s last albums. This is really disapointing.

    • Reese Burns

      Just based on what I’ve heard, it’s still a pretty good release, with subjectivity and all. Though, that said, I’ve only heard half of it.

      • Eli Valcik

        It’s not bad but I was hoping for something really good

    • thornh

      It’s only an EP. 4 new songs and they all fit into their catalog perfectly. If you liked any of their previous work then you will like this. As a KoA fan I give it a 4.0

      • Eli Valcik

        It was more of a case of what I was expecting over what the band produced. The ep isn’t bad, but to my ears it didn’t sound like anything special. The songs may fit into the catalog but they don’t stand out at all.

  • Grymm

    YOU LEAVE MY KING FLESHLIGHT ALPACA-LIPS OUT OF THIS, MISTER!!!

    *ahem*

  • This will have consequences and repercussions.

    • El_Cuervo

      This is a power play Druhm. All that dissent I’ve been sending your way recently? I’m coming for your job.

      • You can have it!

        • El_Cuervo

          No I don’t want it pls don’t make me

      • Be careful what you wish for!

  • Diego Molero

    Cool cover art… and that’s about it.

  • Such an angry band picture.

    • Vikings and such.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      We have a cupola, and we’re not afraid to use it!

    • [not a Dr]

      And still, no Thatguy BPA results…

  • Ferrous Beuller

    Lies! All of KoA’s albums have been great so far. Although Karg had to grow on me.

    • I still have to let Karg grow on me, but I agree. This new album makes no exception imo, great stuff.

      • basenjibrian

        Is Karg some kind of special fungus?

  • Baltech

    So, KoA are basically the last remenants of Mithotyn (even less with this EP since another one of the olds left if I got that right) and now they’re covering themselves? Rarely a good sign. Which is a bit saddening cuz the previous three records were stalwarts of pure 90s Viking Metal.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      No Stefan Weinerhall = No Mithotyn

      • Baltech

        Well, yes, absolutely. Though the first two KoA records in particular come really close to the sound, minus the typical leads of course.

  • Chris

    “I’m not compelled to listen to :taudr: beyond my reviewing obligations. The fundamental problem is that the songwriting lacks focus and consequently feels bland.”

    This pretty much sums up my feelings every time I’ve listened to KoA. They’re a band I feel I SHOULD like, but simply lose interest after a couple songs and move on to something better.

  • Levly

    I’ll give it a little more time but I must say I’m not convinced either for the moment… I enjoyed the bands past work but they’re not the crème de la crème in Viking Metal IMO. Nobody can recreate Mithotyn.

  • Thatguy

    Trollmusic?

    • [not a Dr]

      It is more than likely that they published this album to troll you. The fact that you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out there to get you.

  • Aesir

    Just curious, why is the album title misspelled in runes?
    What writing system are they using because it’s not Elder or
    Younger Futhark.
    Or is the title not spelled in English?
    Because it reads in English………Elder Futhark……….TNUTHZ.
    Younger Futhark It reads…..TNUPR.
    I think……..educate me.

    • You wot m8?

      Exactly what I was gonna say. There is no way it says “taudr”.

      • Aesir

        There are many variations of runic but this isn’t one I recognize…..

        • [not a Dr]

          Maybe they used the Adalruna?

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I think they were trying to spell “THE NUTZ” ;)

      • Aesir

        We have a winner!!!

    • sir_c

      It’s in the Ruind dialect

      • Aesir

        Googled and found nothing on it………..

        • sir_c

          Ruind, similar to b0rken

    • Alexander Korup Matthiasen

      It is younger futhark and reads “tauþr” which is dauðr in old norse language meaning death. Tauþr could be read as döðr too though.