Viking Metal

Vanum – Legend Review

Vanum – Legend Review

“When I reviewed Ageless Fire on this very site, I described Vanum‘s sound as “black metal without cross-genre bells and whistles,” and this is absolutely still true. It’s a different beast than Yellow Eyes or Ash Borer,, principle members M. Rekevics and K. Morgan’s other bands, in that it has never tried to be anything but a love letter to black metal days of yore. Bathory has always been a touchpoint, but perhaps the most noticeable change on Legend is just how hard Vanum lean into their Quorthorniness.” Quorthorn the raven, eat my sword!

Kvaen – The Great Below Review

Kvaen – The Great Below Review

“What’s there left to say about Kvaen beyond five little words, four of which are “fire?” Back in early 2020, Jakob Björnfot came out of seeming nowhere with a fully formed meloblack/speed metal aesthetic and a keen songwriting ear to deliver one of the the most vital sounding throwback records of the year. The Funeral Pyre had something going for it that a lot of good, even great records don’t. Beyond technical musicianship—which Björnfot most certainly has—beyond reverence for a genre’s history, that record was fun. As. Hell. It didn’t matter that no new ground was being broken, it only mattered that Björnfot was driving it like it was stolen.” Hell Alone 2: Electric Burning You.

Ereb Altor – Vargtimman Review

Ereb Altor – Vargtimman Review

Bathory was a touchstone act for multiple metal genres, and though Quorthon has been gone since 2004, his influence still looms large in black and Viking metal. No more proof of this is needed than the 12-year career of Sweden’s Ereb Altor. Their entire output is heavily referential to classic Bathory albums like Hammerheart and Twilight of the Gods and the spirit of mighty Quorthon is never far from their writing. Vargtimman is their eighth platter of classic Bathorycore, and very little is left to chance.” Oversized swords, blackened hordes.

Helheim – WoduridaR Review

Helheim – WoduridaR Review

“Though one could say Bathory were the pioneers of the sound, Helheim grabbed it up and ran with it. And they’ve been doing it for thirty fucking years. And, since their debut full-length in 1995, they really are one of the most prolific bands in all metal. That’s why in my ‘short’ time at AMG, I’ve reviewed them as many times as I have. It also means, for those new to the band, you have a lot of catching up to do. But don’t fret, no matter where you begin in the discography, you’re going to find something you like. See, Helheim doesn’t write bad albums. Some are solid and some are infuckingcredible. The only question we have to ask ourselves is where this year’s WoduridaR fits in the mix.” Enjoy of deep catalog.

Thyrfing – Vanagandr Review

Thyrfing – Vanagandr Review

“Unless you only got into metal recently, you are sure to have an array of bands that you’ve listened to in the past and enjoyed, but for whatever reason you didn’t delve any deeper or keep up with their new releases. Occasionally you might see a namedrop somewhere and go “huh, yeah, I liked that band.” Sometimes you might even pick the thread back up. It’s how I got back into Madder Mortem, for instance. Other times, you shrug and move on, pursuing new thrills instead, making a solemn oath that you never fulfill, to one day get back to that enjoyable echo from the past. Such a moment of recognition struck me when I saw the name Thyrfing pop up in the promo box. “Thyrfing!” I said. “They were cool! Vansinnesvisor was a good album, I recall. They were kinda sorta big at the time, right?” Norse whisperers.

Snaer – Frozen Alchemy Review

Snaer – Frozen Alchemy Review

“From Pittsfield, Maine, Snaer is a quartet founded in 2015, having released a 2019 EP entitled Do It Yourself, a title that conveys their aesthetic and work ethic. Featuring a thrash- and doom-infused style that feels icy and brutal in equal measure, debut full-length Frozen Alchemy effectively balances mystical and punishing. Raw spiraling riffs conveyed through Viking metal-esque chord progressions, blackened rasps, complex percussion, and a nice progressive edge all greet the ears with frigid bite.” Lead to gold or lead to goat?

Enslaved – Utgard Review

Enslaved – Utgard Review

“Sometimes a band makes such a drastic change in style that you’re floored by it. Many times upset by it. But Enslaved made it work. Well, at least for a couple more albums. I liked most of RIITIIR, but nothing after. And when E and its saxophone-sucking closer arrived five years later, I had pretty much given up on the band. So, you can imagine the dread I felt when I got the promo for Utgard.” En garde.

Kampfar – Ofidians Manifest [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Kampfar – Ofidians Manifest [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“I can’t remember the last time Kampfar disappointed me. Grier begins to count his fingers, evaluating every album the band has released since 1997. Oh, that’s right: never. ‘Why are you introducing a TYMHM this way?’ ‘Are you trying to freak me out or bury my hope?’ Maybe. But the real reason is that I’m a dick and I like to fuck with you all.” Honesty is a virtue.

Borknagar – True North Review

Borknagar – True North Review

“Calling me a fanboy of Borknagar is an understatement. Because of this, the review of this year’s True North has been one of the toughest yet for ole Grier. That’s why it’s always difficult to trust the opinion of fanboys, starfuckers, or anyone getting financial ‘encouragement’ from a band or label. Wait a second, Grier, did you back yourself into a corner and admit that no one should trust this review? Hell no, plebs. I’m no n00b.” Trve North, trve journalisming.