posted on 4/2010 By:
Much like Heidevolk, Denmark’s Svartsot came out with a solid debut a couple of years ago and made an immediate mark on the somewhat frolicky Viking metal scene by mixing stern mid-paced chunky death metal like Amon Amarth/Thyrfing with subtle but enjoyable folk elements (flute, tin whistle, mandolin, Bodhran, accordion, etc.). That first album was a death metal album, mostly free from beer chants and overly happy bounciness, but one that still had a nice likeable canter to it. And here is the follow-up album that delivers essentially the same result, though with a few slightly more memorable songs scattered in.
Admittedly, the formula for Mulmets Visor (“Songs of Darkness”) is as rigid as it gets. The aptly named Thor Bager delivers deep growls over sturdy meat n' potatoes death metal laced with a Viking atmosphere and gait. But at 50+ minutes, the album seems to repeat itself. However, when the band does lock into a killer riff or song, they nail it and stick with it. Such examples are scattered around the fairly samey songs in the likes of “Havfruens Kvæd”, “Højen på Glødende Pæle” and my personal favorite, “På Odden af Hans Hedenske Sværd” (those three form a killer little early album trio that makes the rest of the album feel a bit stale) and then the slower “Den Svarte Sot” and “I Salens Varme Glød.” Even if they beat a riff and tin whistle tinkle into the ground with a mean horn-wielding fist, it’s still no less enjoyable and certainly makes for a rowdy fist-pumping, axe-swinging ol' time.
The unfortunate thing is that the album could have been about 4 tracks and 15 minutes shorter and some of the songs could have been a minute or so shorter, and the album would still have the same appeal and impression. “Grendel” and “Lindisfarne” are perfect examples of how all the tracks should have been to keep things lively for the album's duration. Not that there are any throwaway tracks, but the first two tracks (“Æthelred”, “Lokkevisen”), “Kromandens Datter”, and “Laster og Tarv” seem a little recycled.
Still, Mulmets Visor is a fun, bearded, ale-swilling album that’s great for a quick simple listen while you are at home in your chainmail cloth, all oiled up and watching The 13th Warrior. Or is that just me?
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