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Album Reviews : Månegarm – Nattväsen

By on February 18, 2010

1796080With the sounds of growls, blast beats and violins, the five-headed Swedish Viking onslaught of Månegarm is back with the sixth full-length album, Nattvasen.

Månegarm have a knack for creating catchy folk metal without losing any aggression or brutality. Their 2000 release ‘Havets Vargar’ (possibly the best Viking Metal album ever) proved that pagan metal isn’t just about stein-clinking catchy accordion tunes, but can be kept extreme with heavy vocals, black metal riffage and frequent blast beat usage to tell the passionate tales of their ancestors.

Since 2003’s ‘Dodsfard’, Månegarm have eased off the brutality a little but still manage to capture the unique aggression of the band and play Pagan Metal in an extreme way where they wouldn’t seem out of place when classed next to any black metal act (As is with bands such as Skyforger, Obtest, Thyrfing etc).

So where does ‘Nattväsen’ stand? There was a lot of hype for it’s release, and from reading the sneak previews on the Månegarm website I was somewhat excited about the “darkness” concept and the potential for returning to super fast blackened Viking Metal. The truth is it’s not overly different from the last three releases, and whilst it does sound a bit darker and evil, it is nothing too exciting. That said, it is definitely still an enjoyable album.

Opening with a nice clean vocal passage, the trademark riffing and drumming of Månegarm hits you in the face after 30secs. The death metal vocals are there, the clean vocals are there, and it’s a top way to start the album. The second track “Nattsjal, Dromsjall” is even better, I only wish every song on here was like this; it’s fast, it’s heavy, it’s catchy, and the chorus is just great. Another standout track is “Vetramegin” with some lovely black metal stylings and fast drumming. The album however can be slightly inconsistent and occasionally even boring. There are some nice clean guitar passages (including an instrumental track) that sit nicely in the album, and the violins are used sparingly which I feel make them much more effective when heard. The album then finishes with a lovely acoustic track as Manegarm are known to do.

I would recommend this to people who like their pagan metal on the heavier side, and even black metal followers who don’t mind a bit of folk mixed in here and there. Older fans of the band may be left craving for a little more, but should still be fairly content. 7.5 / 10

Band: Månegarm
Album: Nattväsen
Year: 2009
Genre: Folk/Viking/Black Metal
Origin: Sweden
Label: Regain Records/Riot! Entertainment
myspace.com/manegarm

Track listing:
1. Mina Fäders Hall
2.  Nattsjäl, Drömsjäl
3.  Bergagasten
4.  I den Svartaste Jord
5.  Hraesvelg
6.  Vetrarmegin
7.  Draugen
8.  Nattväsen9. Delling

Reviewed by Cabba

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.