The one man Canadian black/folk/viking metal band known as SIG:AR:TYR came out with a really great new album this year but did anyone hear it? (sounds of crickets chirping and wind whistling across the frozen wastelands). Sole band member Daemonskald (you think it says that on his drivers license?) has continued to refine his vision of epic, sweeping viking/black metal and here on album three, he seems to have hit the proverbial sweet spot. There’s a near perfect combination between aggression and beauty on display here and the whole thing feels like an epic poem set to music. In fact, this is a concept album dealing with Odin and his trials and travails and the music is appropriately majestic, somber and powerful. As on the previous SIG:AR:TYR albums, there is a strong focus on acoustic guitar and folk styles but on Godsaga, there’s an increased heaviness and the distorted electric guitar is far more prevalent than before, making the music more powerful and compelling. Likewise, the vocals are split pretty evenly between hoarse black croaks and clean singing/chanting, both work very well and the mix feels just right. Every song is well constructed and well executed and all have a heartfelt, passionate and authentic feel to them (“Sonatorrek” fast became my favorite instrumental moment of the year). There are a lot of varied atmospheres and moods across the nine tracks and this is a very impressive and expressive black/viking metal album. Perfect album cover too!
If you like the sound and mood on Bathory’s Hammerheart or any of the Falkenbach albums, this will be a big win for you. It’s definitely one the metal gems of the year. Odin gave his freaking eye for you so the least you could do is check out this album you heathen bastards!
Highlights: “Nights All Nine,” “Midwinter Sacrifice,” “Blood of the North” and “Sonatorrek”