Manegarm release their 8th full album and celebrate 20 years of a metal legacy.
It is getting to a point where some European nations might as well change their national anthems to metal ballads for the amount of amazing music their nations are creating in the metal world and all its sub-genres. Sweden, Finland, Poland, ALL of the UK, it’s becoming clear that Europe is the heaviest land in the world.
And out of Sweden comes a folk-metal band that is now celebrating its 20th year and 8th full album. Manegarm’s style is one of the best fusions of Viking, folk, and black metal that anyone could ever discover and every time you listen, it sounds like it could be the soundtrack to Lord of the Rings – both in the Shire AND in the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
Bringing in so many different elements into an individual song, let alone an album, can sometimes cause new listeners to shy away. Adding strings and fiddles to your full onslaught drumming and monstrous screaming can confused someone not familiar to the method or intended goal.
Manegarm have now spent twenty years combining these elements and moving mountains with them. The refined skill and pacing in these songs to showcase each style while still continuing stories about Norse Gods and the underworld makes for an amazing listening experience. By description it may sound difficult to sit through, but once you hear it all becomes clear.
I could try to continue describing and attributing the talent that Manegarm has, but it is much easier for you to hear it. Out of Sweden comes a Viking ship screaming the praises of Odin and how he owns us all and that SOMEHOW is a reassuring thought.
The guitar shredding and riffs are completely on point while not overshadowing the vocals or drums in the song. The speed is consistently fast and doesn’t dip or take you out of the moment. Erik Growsio’s deep growling vocals add a level of thunder to a track that already feels like a storm and for over four minutes you get thrown right into the center of it.
Odin Owns Ye All is the style of song that a majority of metal fans will be looking for in this album. While there are other songs that definitely fall in line and fit well with this track, there is much more folk in this album than many people will expect. The tying threads in this album aren’t laid with screaming and shredding but with strings and acoustics.
While on definition there may be some death metal snobs who will instantly turn their nose up at what I just said, but the flow of crafted music that can come from combining the loud and the melodic into sequences is a unique experience that has to be heard to be appreciated. Once you hear it, you completely understand the goal and why it works.
I cannot claim to be a folk aficionado but at the same time I can tell what works. There is a gentle and uplifting feel to this song that fits VERY well with this album. When hearing the ominous Odin Owns Ye All to then be carried into tracks like this makes everything feel bigger than a separate track or two. It’s a progression and a movement as opposed to individual tracks on a list.
The are some inclusions of odd instruments that may take you out of the experience like in Barsarkarna fan Svitjod [BUBBLE], but even those moments don’t date the overall quality of this album. Unexpectedly hearing a female vocalist in the final moments or unison screaming in Nattramn or even the amazing progression of a song like Call of the Runes all adds up to an album that’s worth your time listening to.
Whether you want to classify Mangarm under Viking, Black, or Folk metal is your own clarification, but it’s very difficult to deny the quality results that came from a fusion of many elements. This is another case of finding something really good if you keep an open mind.
Overall, Manegarm’s self titled album celebrating 20 years in existence gives more creativity and energy than most bands in their prime trying to fill out an album. For metal fans around the world looking for something unique, Manegarm’s 8th album will deliver you something special.