Månegarm says “Odin owns ye all!” and who will argue? Nobody. I can’t believe we’re sitting here ready to discuss Månegarm’s eighth studio album that happens to be self-titled. Svenne Rosendal, Jonas Almqui and Pierre Wilhelmsson formed this amazing group in 1995 (20 years ago as of writing this review), with intentions of sharing their melodic pagan death metal with the masses. They’ve not only delivered a unique sound that has stood the test of time as one of the best Swedish metal experiences ever, but they continue to evolve their style/creations even further with their newest release.
The current line-up consists of Månegarm original guitarist, Jonas Almqui, with Erik Grawsio on bass/vocals, Markus Ande manning guitar and drummer Jacob Hallegren. The powerful melodies of each release have become instant conversation for “album of the year” when these guys get together to record a new record, and 2015’s ‘Månegarm’ is no different. I feel that this newest spin is a wonderful continuation of the masterful works of ‘Vargstenen’, ‘Nattväsen’ and 2013’s ‘Legions of the North’. If you enjoyed any of those albums, you should own this one. It won’t disappoint.
Looking at the track listing of this album, it’s easy to see why Månegarm as a group is held with such high regard as there are simply no weak spots anywhere. The first three songs, ‘Blodorn’, ‘Tagen av Daga’ and ‘Odin Owns ye All’, each offer wonderful sections of build, climax and transition. First, you have a nice gradual entrance into the world of Viking lore, then a riff + mouth harp combination that is truly beautiful, then fist to face brutality with epic chorus lines that make me wish I could understand the lyrics and sing along! A wonderful bassline to open ‘Tagen av Daga’ with great harmonic violin/metal riffs soon follow and drive a nice pace right into ‘Odin Owns ye All’! At this point, I’m already sold on the album as a whole. It could be Lady Gaga on the next track and I still would love it! Ok, maybe not, but I love how each track turns up the intensity further and further!
At this point, you’re actually squeaking with anticipation to see where it goes from here. Then, ‘Blot’ follows with a whimsical folk/celtic vibe that just floats in so well with everything else. It’s honestly a very advanced skill to piece together an album so eloquently with diverse styles like this and I can’t say it enough - Månegarm pulls this off better than anyone. ‘Vigverk - dell II’ presses this further for a wonderful intermission between heavy tracks. The harmony present in between these transitions is masterful and worthy of serious attention. Never fear though, track 6, ‘Call of the Runes’ kicks things off with a shredding intro that reminds you who the hell you’re listening to! Wondrous Vikings climb to the mountain tops to blow your ears off with complicated guitar riffs and growls that drive the point home - Månegarm is king.
The rest of the tracks are awesome and I almost don’t want to spoil the rest for you. Amazing transitions, hard and melodic balanced perfectly, you are in for a real treat! You have an entire, wonderful album ahead of you with no reason that every metal head shouldn’t have this in their collection.
Review by Joshua Jaeger
20th Nov 2015
2) Tagen av Daga
3) Odin Owns ye All
5) Vigverk - del II
6) Call of the Runes
8) Bärsärkarna från Svitjod
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"It’s honestly a very advanced skill to piece together an album so eloquently with diverse styles like this and I can’t say it enough - Månegarm pulls this off better than anyone."