Grab your shovel, go out back into the woods, and dig up your great grandfather’s chest, get his bearshirt and put it on. Join in the merriment. Bifröst is a recommended band that has shown great improvements in musicianship and deserves a listen.

Modern folk metal is plagued with too many synthesized flutes, too many chorus moments, the drunken bar room sing along has always gotten on my nerves, especially when ended with “Hey, Hey,” and clinking glasses. Bifröst did not do it on their debut, Schlachtklänge, so I had no expectations for any such tomfoolery from this Austrian black folk band. Alas a misstep here on Heidenmetal with “Der Mönch”, though luck be with us they got all those elements of overly happy campfire drinking bliss out of the way on that one song. As this album progresses I might have stopped there had I not known from the first album that they are not an overly happy bunch. Time to get up from the oaken table and do some sword rattling. All you pacifist vikings take heart, here is another one for you, everyone else take heart, it was just a passing fancy.

Nice production values, fits the style well, but I think the vocals should be louder, more dominant. That seems to suit this style of folk metal, very upfront vocals. The vocals are toned down a bit as compared to the debut though it seems more through clarity of recording than vocal delivery.

If you think “Fimbulwinter” was the best song on the debut you are in for a treat. I need to single out “Berserker.” Where is the pent up rage? And also of note is “Ragnarök” and “Schlachtklänge” both appeared on the debut album. “Ragnarök” is chopped down from 5:40 to 4:45. It is a nine minute track on the debut but they used the despised trickery of extended black space followed by a hidden track, in this case just some hot air. Both of these songs, as would be expected, are darker and faster, with harsher vocals and they held my attention then, I had hoped for more of the same, but now that we have more they are actually the weaker songs.

Favorite tracks include “Der Rächer” and “Weingeist,” a bit heavier and harsher, and in “Weingeist” I like the group chanted vocals, deeper tones, also both songs have more emphasis on bass. “Heimgang” gets my vote for top song, an epic instrumental. It lacks the punch of a bloody duel, instead, once the horns and drums kick in, it is a majestic setup to the festivities. They already proved they could write a nice instrumental with the intro to Schlachtklänge. “Heimgang” surpasses it in both beauty and artistry.

Einheit has a fine stable of bands and Bifröst is a worthy addition. Check  them out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
March 12th, 2010


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