Månegarm

Månegarm – Legions of the North Review

Månegarm – Legions of the North Review

In the late ’90s and early ’00s (aughts, as I call ’em), there was a swath of Scandinavian bands forming something of a scene around the sound of folk influenced black metal. Chief among these were ThyrfingMoonsorrow, and Månegarm. While Moonsorrow changed their sound with time and went on to have widespread respect, the Swedish bands (Månegarm and Thyrfing) both labored in relative obscurity. Why Månegarm never quite pushed their way onto the international stage is mysterious for me, because they’ve always been a band producing unique, interesting, and enjoyable music. In any case, Legions of the North marks the band’s first record since 2009’s Nattväsen which was released on the struggling (and now defunct) Regain Records. While Nattväsen was excellent, my major complaint was simply that it was largely a repetition of 2007’s Vargstenen. After 4 years, signing with Napalm Records, getting a new drummer and losing violinist Janne Liljeqvist, can Månegarm present a fresh face and fill their little niche in folk metal?

Kebnekajse – Idioten Review

Kebnekajse – Idioten Review

The 1970s were a fascinating period for Sweden. There was a ton of experimentation, it was the 1970s, but just like many other phenomena, much of what was happening in the outside world was mirrored in the funhouse mirror that is Sweden’s culture. So while Americans of the time, for example, flirted with Marxism, drugs and experimental music, all of that stuff got taken in different directions in Sweden. Reading about the so-called “Red Wave” (red as in communist) of the 1970s is actually really interesting, and seeing how that was showed up and was interpreted in other parts of the culture is a fascinating endeavor. It follows, then, that one of the most interesting things that came out of the era was called “progg” (that might look familiar to you), and it is not the same as what we think of progressive or symphonic rock that changed the face of rock in the US or UK. Instead, much of the scene was caught up in ideologies and were far more concerned with political thought than with music at all. (Rumor has it that one of the bands let everyone play every instrument because it would be unfair otherwise.)

Månegarm – Nattväsen Review

Månegarm – Nattväsen Review

Nattväsen (Night Creatures) is the name of the new Månegarm record, and one that works well with the feel of the entire album. Clocking in at a good LP length of 45 minutes, this record explores musically and lyrically the fears which we as humans have had as long as there has been night. Those fears of the things that creep out of sight, be it the ghost of a mountain (“Bergagasten”), the creatures in our dreams (“Nattsjäl-Drömsjäl”) or a mythical creature (“Draugen”). This concept seals together a record of some of the best folk/viking metal that is currently available by any band.