Album: Legions Of The North
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Pagan Metal, Viking Metal
Legions Of The North is the seventh album by the Swedish band Månegarm. The title for their album could not have been chosen better: Legions Of The North provides us with some dramatic and epic Viking power. They can only make this type of music in Scandinavia.
Månegarm have been active since 1995, and have their roots in black metal. Heavier than most folk metal bands, but equally epic, the music on Legions Of The North offers brilliant instrumentation, raging metal, and hints of death and black metal throughout the tracks. The experience and craftsmanship of these gentlemen is undeniable.
From this description, you might wonder what is the difference with Amon Amarth? I'd say Månegarm's music is more epic, more varied and even more shrouded in an icy Northern cloud. The vocals of Månegarm are not the best in the genre, but the music of Legions Of The North is so versatile that the vocals can take a step back and blend into the background.
Legions Of The North is a vastly furious album. The opening chords of “Arise” shake you as if Thor himself just descended upon you an gave you a kick in the ass.
These Vikings are ready to roll over Europe again – and they let us know with their battle hymns “Legions Of The North”, “Hordes of Hel”, “Sons of War”, “Echoes from the Past” and “Forged in Fire.” On these tracks, Månegarm show their very best side. They are an invitation to a festival plain full of metalheads to rise their horn and shout along.
When Månegarm try to tone it down and play some folk metal, something like “Tor Hjälpe” results. I can't pinpoint exactly what doesn't work about that track, but it by far does not groove like the rest of the album. The outro of the Legions Of The North is the surprising ballad “Raadh”: a return home to a beautiful lady after a furious battle on the sea, or a song for a fallen warrior – it sounds like balm to your ears after all the violence of the previous tracks.
The cover artwork by Kris Verwimp from Belgium deserves a special mention – more than anything, it captures the soul of Månegarm.
To sum it all up: fans of viking/pagan metal can buy Legions Of The North by Månegarm with their eyes and ears closed. This is true Viking metal from the North, like they only make it up there.
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