Dyrathor are a young, up-and-coming pagan black/folk metal band from Germany. Sacred Walcraft Of Hel is their debut album, following on from their extremely popular demo. A country home to such quality bands in the genre as XIV Dark Centuries, KromleK and Menhir. With such a pedigree of folk and Viking metal bands preceding them, such as XIV Dark Centuries, KromleK, Equilibrium, Menhir and the mighty Falkenbach, the Dyrathor youngster's 'Northern Storm Metal' has a lot to live up to.
Sacred Walcraft Of Hel kicks off with a spoken intro that ends with the words "Believe me, you have not the slightest idea what is to come" and this is quite fitting as Dyrathor manage to avoid sounding exactly like most other bands in this bloated genre by the members proving themselves to be quite diverse songwriters.
Whilst the vocals generally stay focussed on hoarse screams á la Equilibrium, Morguul also utilizes lower, well-rounded growls and occasional Ensiferum-like epic chants and spoken words.
The music is heavy and yet retains a good semblance of melody which is important in this genre and the guitar tone is crisp and enjoyable. Perhaps the most intriguing part of Dyrathor's music is the violin. Unlike many bands where the traditional instruments are pushed to the fore to add to the folky credibility of the music, Dyrathor resist the temptation and instead keep the violin in the background. When the instrument does get unleashed the impact is tremendous. Likewise the use of keys is limited but the sparing use, such as in Und ewig rinnt das Blut, leads to them actually grabbing your attention.
Although some of the songs are perhaps a little too long to hold my attention completely I have to hand it to this band, they are certainly living up to their country's great reputation for producing awesome metal! This album is not the greatest album in the genre but it is a phenomenal debut from a band that without a doubt is going to go far! I would urge fans of folk, Viking and pagan black metal to check them out.