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Mammal’s Best of 2015 – Part 6/10


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Over the weekend I checked the album selections for 2015 on quite a few websites that cover the various genres I love. Some of them, especially those with long lists like mine, feature bands I’ve never heard of. No doubt my lists include bands many people don’t know.

I believe I speak for all of us at Metal State when I say we end every year with a nagging, twitchy feeling that we missed something great during the year. It’s almost certain that we did. In the last 12 months we were offered a couple of thousand albums to review. No person, and no team of four reviewers, could possibly listen properly to that many albums.

To the bands that did make it onto my lists, even if I ranked you #50 that means I liked your work more than a few hundred other albums I played and enjoyed. The same goes for the lists my weird esteemed colleagues have posted. More good music is being made now than at any time, and I’ve been listening to plenty of music during most of my two-thirds of a century on this planet.

 

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Video of the Week: Vintersorg – Lågornas Rov


Andreas Hedlund, nickname Vintersorg, has steered his compositions along two paths since first going into the recording studio in 1998. Vintersorg’s first few albums were harder, black folk metal. The more recent albums have become wide-ranging musical journeys, taking in other influences to form what might best be described as progressive Viking metal.

This song is from Naturbål, Vintersorg’s ninth album, which is being released today. It promises to be as good as any album in the amazingly creative discography of Vintersorg.

The band members currently adding to Vintersorg’s individual skills as a guitarist, bass player, keyboard artist and vocalist on the album are guitarist Mattias Marklund and bassist Johan Lindgren. When they’re on the road, Nils Johansson joins them as keyboardist and programmer.

 

Mammal’s Merry Memories: Falkenbach – Baldurs Tod (1998)


I don’t remember this song from 1998, the year it was released. We didn’t get this type of album in South Africa back then, partly because of low local demand and partly because the lyrics weren’t all in English. I was introduced to Falkenbach, this album – “Magni Blindinn Ok Megintiri” – and “Baldur’s Tod” in about 2004 by a fellow fanatical player of the “Baldur’s Gate” series of computer games. I’d written in our main gaming forum that I loved the theme music in the game. A guy from Greece, who turned out to be a folk metal devotee, said I should try real music about the legendary Baldur and he sent me this track as an MP3.

This track doesn’t have lyrics. That’s why he said it would have been a great theme for the game. Anyway, since then I’ve loved folk metal. Falkenbach have been doing it beautifully since 1996. Their 2013 “Asa” was one of my albums of the year.

 

 

Album Review: …To North by King of Asgard


The call of the war horn beckons the oncoming storm as the Vikings raise their weapons and dash to the shores unleashing a relentless assault on their foes.  Blood, sweat, viscera glaze the warriors and the battle ground as the tempest of steel rages on.  Within the course of only an hour the rush of conflict comes to a halt, the living lower their weapons and walk away with their sanguine drenched bounty giving thanks to Odin.

Sounds like I just described a scene from an Amon Amarth album, right?  Well, nope, that is the imagery that passes through my heads when I listen to the sophomore album, …To North, by Swedish melo-death metal band King of Asgard (which features members of Mithotyn and Falconer).  Yes, the 2 bands share very much in common ranging from Norse mythology to back-breaking riffs and rhythms, but when all is said and done the bands stand apart from each other both delivering different experiences.  Amon Amarth delivers more of a pure melo-deth experience, while King of Asgard delve into some progressive tinged black metal mixed with their melo-deth style.  Both bands are monumental experiences in ‘Viking Metal’ with neither outclassing the other.  And now that I’ve taken care of the gorilla in the room, let’s talk about …To North some more.

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Backtrack-Bathory-Twilight of the Gods


With bands such as Amon Amarth and Enslaved taking the Viking metal sub-genre to new levels I thought it would be cool to go back and take a look at the band that could be looked at as the inventors of the genre.  With what started out as a black metal band in the 80’s, main man Quorthon(AKA Tomas Forsberg) took his bands a different direction at the start of the 90’s.  He moved away from the speed and intensity of black metal and moved to a bigger and more epic sound heavily influenced by the history of the Vikings and Norse mythology on the album Hammerheart.  For the next couple of releases Bathory would continue to pursue this new musical style, then venture into thrash metal territory before returning to Viking metal to ride it out until Quorthon’s untimely death in 2004.

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Song of the Day 8 Dec 2010


Since i am not at work today and moving my shit from one house to another, the first song that played in my car is the song of the day.  Even though my trek to the new home was so short that I didn’t get to finish the song, I am still declaring it the song of the day. The song for 8 Dec 2010 is:

Free Will Sacrifice by Amon Amarth off the Twilight of the Thunder Gods album.

And what an album it is. This one rocks from beginning to end.  Lucky for us in England (or in the Suffolk/Norfolk area) Amon Amarth will be in Norwich with Children of Bodom on the 1st of April 2011.  No, it’s not a premature April fools joke.  See you there!

Have a great week.  I will be on hiatus for a few days as I move and wait for internet to get set up at the new Plantera7 domicile.  Rock on!

Album of the Week


Hello Metal Fans,

Tired of only getting a single track’s worth of metal state per day?  Fear not, the first Album of the Week is here!

For the album of the week, the contributors have decided just to pick an awesome album, and post it.  Simple as that.

So, without further delay, the Album of the Week for 2-8 October, 2010 is:

“Twilight of the Thunder God”, by Amon Amarth 

Quick Album Facts
Label: Metal Blade
Release Date: September 2008
Total Tracks: 10
Album Length: 43.28

Track Listing
1. Twilight of the Thunder God
2. Free Will Sacrifice
3. Guardians of Asgaard
4. Where is Your God
5. Varyags Of Miklagaard
6. Tattered Banners And Bloody Flags
7. No Fear for Setting the Sun
8. The Hero
9. Live for the Kill
10. Embrace of the Endless Ocean

This album is one of only a handful of albums I would give 5 out of 5 devil horns.  This is a ridiculously awesome album, and EVERY TRACK is great.  If I was forced to pick my top three tracks from the album, they would be:

-Twilight of the Thunder God
-Live for the Kill
-Guardians of Asgard

Amon Amarth is easily one of my top 12 bands, and this album really cemented them as viking metal masters.  Have a listen, and you will not be disappointed.