posted on 12/2005 By:
No matter how deep I try to burry my Scandinavian heritage there are a few things that always excite me: Open-faced sandwiches, Fish Cakes, and Trolls. Oh look, it’s an album with a troll descending out of the mountains to destroy a village church in a fiery pagan inferno. I wonder what country this band comes from and what style of music this will be? Verdens Tid even opens with a little dramatic piece featuring the chatter of ravens and the approaching sounds of an army and a thunderstorm. Quickly following this potential portent of cheesiness, reassurance and quality arrive on a Viking battlewagon. I’m positive Vikings didn’t roll up in a wagon carrying horns of ale and singing tales, but in this holiday season that is the image this album conjures up in my head. So never fear all ye fans of bouncing folk and upbeat Vikingry, Manegarm deliver the goods with an added surplus sure to last the winter long.
Now, let it be said that we are dealing with an album whose spirit is a little more fun than, say, some of Moonsorrow’s better work, which I would argue are less fun and more timeless classic in nature. Not to disparage Manegarm but the vibe here definitely lies on the side of the field occupied by acts like Turisas where the theatrical and folk sound are more important than a more stone-faced sort of pagan reverence. Upbeat rhythms, sing-along choruses and a plethora of vocal deliveries allow this album to at times sound like Amon Amarth’s Once Sent from the Golden Hall and at others to bounce around like proper a drunken pub crawler with shouted gang deliveries that promise to make any Fintroll fan giggle with delight. (None of that Hummpasali ¾ time bullshit mind you.)
The album’s fifth track is called “Dödens Strand” which I think means “Shores of Death” but my highborn Norwegian vernacular allows me to pull only so much meaning from the mongrel Swedish tongue. Kidding aside, this is one of my favorite tracks and its enthusiastic spirit really just gets across every aspect I love about this genre. The whole duration is varied in style and constantly reveals little nuggets of quality that have kept me coming back. Eloquent female vocals used sparingly, shockingly well played Hardanger Fiddle, perfectly timed switches in tempo and mood including the use of acoustic guitars (even hordes of Trolls and Vikings need a rest now and then) and a general knack for song craft make this an album worthy of ownership by anyone. The title track even opens up low-fi style to drawn in the Christ-raping dour faced fuckers. Jolly good show in my opinion. For tales about the pagan battle for the north put forth without a single word of English it doesn’t get much better than this. Verdens Tid is easily top 10 material.
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Urminnes Hävd - The Forest Sessions
Vargaresa - The Beginning