In the Sign of the Ravens
Since Enslaved's rise to fame a few years back, most of you will have noticed the rise in the number of "viking metal" bands. Although it would make more sense to bestow this title upon such *real* originators of this style/imagery such as Bathory or even Unleashed, black metal sounding bands have instead received it. Groups as Einherjer, Helheim (not the Necropolis band), Allegiance, and of course Enslaved have done their fair part of marketing in relation to "viking metal", but as of now, none of them have *truly* impressed me.
Mithotyn, hailing from none other than Sweden, do of course take a more black metal feel to the music (how else can a metal band make money these days??), but unlike most of the other "viking metal" bands that rely more on imagery than actually making their music sound "viking", this pack does use a heavy dosage of folk music and more melodic riffs to bring the intended sound out. This of course creates a more traditional feel, somewhat of a combination between melodic (and even romantic at times in this case) Swedish metal bands, Hammerheart-era Bathory, and traditional folk music. The best sounding instrument heard on this high quality production (and the one the band obviously bases their music on) is the guitar. I'll happily admit that the riffs on this particular LP really did impress me, they surpass nearly all modern metal bands in how smooth they sound, and combined with the mid-paced drums, at times even give off an Iron Maiden melodic "metal-rock" feel. Vocals are fairly standard, and remind me of what you'd hear listening to any other black metal band, that is they are fairly simple and growly. The vocals do tend to jump into clean singing though, but in more of a chanting fashion, again giving the music more of a viking feel (the chants are short and punchy, not monk-ish like your probably thinking). And to stir the listener's actual interest in the music, Mithotyn add some female vocals, lots of tasteful keyboards, and even a flute I believe. 56 minutes of nicely packaged, melodic, and "superior to the other Viking bands" music is what you'll find upon this above average release.
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