Metal Discovery seems to have been invaded by Skálmöld this past month. After a live review by me and an interview by Mark Holmes, we are back to these Icelandic metallers. And we couldn’t be happier. Third album released; third concept album. This time, Skálmöld tell us the life story of a brave woman in Iceland’s defence. Along the album, despite not being able to understand the language, you are able to sense the growth of this girl/woman and her feelings/doings, which appear to be a constant battle for freedom.
With a strong start in ‘Ao vori’ we have served an eminent epic war on our way. And I thought I wasn’t too fond of epic metal! Proven to be wrong, ‘Meo fuglum’ follows and shows a different approach to the battle. With a death metal sound, approaching even a little bit of black, we are blessed with desperate/powerful sounding choruses performed by what I would call the two main singers (yes, because there are more!) - Baldur Ragnarsson and Björgvin Sigurðsson. This song seems to have it all and, after your senses are invaded with this brilliancy, a beautiful epic guitar solo follows and gives the cue for a very moody keyboard presentation.
The epicness doesn’t end here; the album keeps on a passed battle with the normal ups and downs, where choirs are used to illustrate the ambiance of its scene. A sense of calmness invades on ‘Ao sumri’ as if a storm is about to come. A build up to its rawness. ‘Meo drekum’ kicks in and we can feel the change. Bold guitars accompanied by the powerful voice show us that they are not here to be played with. This song has probably one of the best guitar/drum breaks performed in a long time. And the melody is just tasteful. We are in the presence of some great guitar players that don’t let their love for guitars outshine the beautifulness of a great melody.
When you think you could not be more surprised, ‘Ao hausti’ happens. Probably my top pick from ‘Meo vaettum’. It is in this song where you can find all the vocals and instruments in perfect alignment and harmony. It could be easily called the hymn of this third album. The perfect song to introduce someone to this brilliant and surprisingly recent band.
The story is coming to an end and, a mix of emotions are worked and shown around in different styles with ‘Meo jotnum’ and ‘Ao vetri’. From hope, defiance, and despair, everything seems to be possible at this point. Finally, a band that is able to use their instruments to pass their message and emotions. And they do it successfully, by the end of the album, during the last track, where you can’t avoid but feel hooked to their style. ‘Meo grioungum’ concludes it well; a sense of closure along with a desire for more, for another concept, for another well-performed piece of storytelling. Skálmold are here to stay.
Review by Salomé Sequeira
1st December 2014
1) Að vori
2) Með fuglum
3) Að sumri
4) Með drekum
5) Að hausti
6) Með jötnum
7) Að vetri
8) Með griðungum
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"We are in the presence of some great guitar players that don’t let their love for guitars outshine the beautifulness of a great melody."