Friday, July 20, 2012

Review of King of Asgard's " North"

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Buy This Album

1. Intro
2. The Nine Worlds Burn
3. The Dispossessed
4. Gap of Ginnungs
5. Bound to Reunite
6. Nordvegr
7. Up On The Mountain
8. Plage-Ridden Rebirth
9. Harvest (The End)
10. …to North

“KING OF ASGARD took form in 2008 by founder Karl Beckman. Teaming up with long time fellow worker, Karsten Larsson, once together in the well known viking horde Mithotyn. Now re-entering their roots, the foundation of King of Asgard was a fact. Both musically as well as in the Norse heritage used as lyrical approach. In January 2009 the first recording was done. Resulting in the demo "Prince of Märings", a seven track disc recorded in Lotang studio. In November the same year, Jonas Albrektsson (ex-Thy Primordial)  joined KING OF ASGARD. The three piece now took serious form, meanwhile the demo recording was well received and caught the interest of Metal Blade Records. In December of 2009 KING OF ASGARD inked a deal with METAL BLADE RECORDS! Sonic Train Studios in Varberg, Sweden were booked and in March 2010 the debut album was recorded together with engineer Andy LaRocque. KING OF ASGARD nailed down thirteen songs of folk based blackened death metal reminding of times of old. During the summer a video was shot for the album opener "Einhärjar", produced by Rickard Moneus from the production company 1897 ( KING OF ASGARD's debut album "Fi'mbulvintr" was released in August of 2010 and made an astonishing impact on the scene. Still, the band was in need of a second guitarist for future live events and after all Lars Tängmark was hired for the job in August of 2010. KING OF ASGARD finally started being active as a live performing act and played a bunch of successful festivals and club shows during 2010 and 2011. In early 2012 KING OF ASGARD finished the songwriting for their second album and returned to Sonic Train Studios in April, again with Andy LaRocque at the helm, to record "...To North". Another video will be shot in May, yet again with producer Rickard Moneus.”

The intro of this song feels like a little battle between guitars and horns, then there is the sound of what I believe is marching. The battle for Asgard begins with "The Nine Worlds Burn" which is lead into nicely by the intro. The first riff is so very ear catching and sets this album up nicely with a black/folk feel. I think when it comes to mixing folk and black this band does a superb job. Near the end of this song there female vocal epic folk part and it gives me goosebumps. The first time because it was unexpected and really appealed to me, it made this song possibly my favourite. To keep going with the more folk sounding side of the band we have "The Dispossessed". I found that the chorus stands out the most with how catchy it is with the riff playing and the overall feel. On to the black and darker side of this album we have "Gap of Ginnungs". The way this songs riff are laid out I feel they nailed the black metal side of things nicely. The rhythm and solo type bit at the beginning was a nice mood setter and the chorus in this song is even catchier than the song prior with the backing vocals. The solo is excellent and it may possible be a dualing solo, but either way it’s awesome. This song is another one of my favourites. "Bound to Reunite" is another song with a black feel. Starting from the beginning riff in this song it feels really heavy and dark and when it leads into the vocals a more folk-y riff is born from it and it just sounds perfect. I like the drums in this song with the ride cymbal patterns, it just so badass sounding after hearing it so many times and paying attention to it. "Nordvegr" has a awesome sound lead at the beginning and the riff after is awesome. The little squeal that is done in the main riff is dirty sounding, it makes it another one of those catchy moments. "Up On The Mountain" starts off with a really black riff with the fast heavy strumming which leads into a soft little acoustic riff and some epic folky chanting or whatever you would call it. The riff after this part is really groovy and folky and may be one of my favourite riffs off this album. Although it is kind of slow, the groove the riff has feels really gloomy and I like it. When the chanting is repeated the drumming over top of it makes it feel more tribal. "Plage-Ridden Rebirth" doesn’t let you get ready for anything, with no breathing space, and just hits you with a fast black riff. The lead about three fourths of the way in had a nice folk sound to it but was short lived, although it makes an appearance again after another riff but longer and even folk sounding and plays to the end. "Harvest (The End)" has a really TYR influenced style in the beginning of this song, but I would not say it was bad thing at all and I very much approve this riff. This song has another one of those catchy choruses. The last song, which is the title track, "…to North" is just an instrumental and showcases the folk side of King of Asgard.

This album is one that I would recommend to both black and folk metal listeners. This album is great the whole way through and is probably one of my favourite albums of this year. They know how to mix the two genres perfectly. You should definitely pick this up when it is released on the 31st. I will definitely be picking this up on vinyl, because I am a hipster like that.

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