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On disc: Wulfgar



Midgardian Metal - Mike Thompson - 8 stars


www.wulfgar.se







Midgardian Metal

Midgardian Metal
(Trollzorn Records - 2010)


I've not heard of the Swedish band Wulfgar before, so when I put this album on to be greeted by a short accordion intro I thought I was in for some Korpiklaani-style folk metal. However, this is quite far from the truth.
With Die For My Clan Wulfgar, named after a character from Beowulf, show their true colors with some very Amon Amarth style riffing that leads into some pounding Viking themed death metal.
Musically the band play a very dark version of what Amon Amarth started. It is death metal with an emphasis on melody but where their fellow Swedish brethren's songs can be quite uplifting Wulfgar have a much more gritty and in some ways more melancholy feel to their music.
However, this is not to say that the album is all doom and gloom, far from it. It is just as stirring but in a different way. Wulfgar also utilize some almost power metal-like chants in songs like Midgardian Metal which do act as a more uplifting counterpoint to the general feel of the music.
Vocally, Emil 'Ewil' Augustsson has a very hoarse and indecipherable voice that I must admit is not really to my taste. He does have quite a range but generally the vocals linger in a very average black metal style rasp. On saying that one of my favorite vocal parts on the album is in Norsemen Of Steel, which is roared out initially over a simple melody with some clean singing in between, its quite unusual for this style of music and definitely one of the album's strongest tracks.
The cover art of the album is highly reminiscent of some eighties roleplaying game. Its not bad but it just has an unfortunate quality of being a bit laughable. A more serious looking cover, like Amon Amarth's Twilight Of The Thunder God for example, would have suited the dark sound of the music more.
I've compared this album to Amon Amarth quite a lot in this review but that perhaps may not be very fair as Wulfgar are still a fairly new band, having only formed in 2004. However, given the similarity between the two bands I think its warranted. I'd certainly place this album above some of Amon Amarth's albums; Fate Of Norns and Twilight Of The Thunder God both being inferior to Midgardian Metal. This is a very good and enjoyable album that should please all fans of melodic death metal. With a little more work Wulfgar will be a real force to be reckoned with. The Vikings are coming.


8 stars

Mike Thompson
 

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