Havamal
The Shadow Chapter

Sweden’s Havamal ( ‘the words of Odin’), is a relatively new Norse/Viking-themed melodic death metal band with one album under their belt from 2019, Tales from Yggdrasil, which I have not heard. I was in the mood for something Viking -y to tide me over until the new Thyrfing, and this has fit the bill excellently.

Lots of epic,90s keyboards and choirs back the 90s styled, Amon Amarth lite riffage, and at times I’m reminded of Hin Onde (minus the terrible clean vocals), and early Thyrfing (Valda Galga in particular), though the riffs are a little less purely Viking/beer-hall, even if the lyrics and themes are with songs titles like “Fenris”, “Nidhoggr”, Jormungandr” and “Hel”.

The Shadow Chapter is 8 songs and one intro of very enjoyable, epic melo-death, lasting about 48 minutes. It’s got a nice clean, modern production but certainly also hearkens back to the 90s style of melodic death/black metal. In particular, songs like “Nidhoggr”, “Jormungandr” and closer, “The Curse of Grendel” have bouncy gait and delivery that’s a pleasant, easy listen. They can get a little sterner on tracks like “Kraken”and “Nornir’s Call” (with one of the album’s few blast beats) or even a little middle eastern in “Empire of the Ashen Sun”,  and but it’s still pretty shiny affable melodic death/black metal.

The Shadow Chapter has done exactly what I needed it to do, and that’s fill a void until Thyrfing’s Vanagandr drops in August. But I’m always glad to find new bands in this style, even if this ‘safe’ sounding, and Havamal is now a band I will be looking forward to new material from as they grow and develop.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 30th, 2021

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