Release Date: 12th October 2018
Record Label: Napalm Records
This is the first Skálmöld album I have fully listened to. I have listened to a few Skálmöld tracks in the past and really liked what I heard, so I was quite excited to listen to the latest album by this Icelandic band. This is one of the biggest folk/viking metal releases of 2018, so I had to listen to this as soon as I could, and of course review it!
Ljósið is the first track, and it kicks the album off with a hard, strong and steady start. Higher octaves in the guitar accompany the verses. There are choral clean vocals, and the melody overall is catchy, but also very much a track you want to be banging your head to. You can definitely hear that this is Skálmöld. Sverðið is a more melodic tracking, with a swinging riff and choral vocals. It has a gentler feel than Ljósið and for me personally feels more like a Skálmöld sounding track.
Brúnin is fast paced, with a droning folk instrument in the background. It is definitely at the pace to headbang to. There is a section that reminds me of Walk by Pantera which shouldn’t really work but it does. Barnið has a very Metallica/Megadeth sounding intro, and then the familiar Skálmöld lead guitars and vocals come in, and the pace slows.
Skotta again has a similar intro to Barnið, but this track switches between this style and a contrasting Skálmöld style with guitar solos and tapping. Gangári has a similar percussion style to the previous two tracks, but there is a melodic guitar over the top. At some points the instrumental almost turns chaotic, but it works really well.
Móri begins quite differently, with a single distorted guitar, then a chorus of guitars before the drums fade in. This track definitely has more of the sound that I associate with Skálmöld. There are a lot more folk instrumentals and there are also some female vocals. There are some changes of pace with hard and fast instrumentals and the harsh vocals. Mara has a bouncier pace and rhythm, with a dancey and jiggy melody. There is also a calm acoustic section in the song.
There is also a bonus track on this album, Höndin sem veggina klórar. It begins with an organ and has a creepy feel, but has the overall Skálmöld sound that I’m familiar with.
Sorgir has a strong start, with strong, heavy sounds, contrasting acoustic and soaring guitars. The combination of all these elements not only appeals to the die hard Skálmöld fans, but also to those who may not have heard much of their music before and are into the more traditional metal sound. I have so far missed the opportunities to see Skálmöld live, but I do hope they are back in the UK at some point, and I can make the effort to see them.
Skálmöld will have some videos explaining the stories behind the tracks on their Facebook page.
Buy Sorgir: https://skalmold.is/shop/
Listen to Skálmöld on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/74OwyyAZV6DyBjpK85yVId
Follow Skálmöld on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skalmold/
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