Idolatrous
Sorrow On Midgard

Portland’s newcomers Idolatrous are here to answer the age-old question… what would it sound like if Amon Amarth were from Oregon and used epic keyboards/synths in their chunky form of Viking-based melo-death?

Well, it sounds fucking amazing, and certainly, if you are a bit tired of Amon Amarth‘s tried and tested, safer last couple of albums, then Idolatrous is for you, as they add a fresh layer of gruffer, beefy guitars and synths to their exact sound with killer results. Further adding to the obvious influence, Eric Scherzinger has a spot on Johan Hegg’s growl.

But I’m definitely enjoying Sorrow on Midgard more than Berzerker and way more The Great Heathen Army. And it’s not just because of the keyboards which certainly add an almost symphonic black metal air of austere majesty to the thunderous music, but there’s a fresh sense of energizing songwriting to the influence as well. The production is a little overbearing but really carries some heft at times.

Like their Swedish peers, Sorrow on Midgard delivers a mix of rousing, faster, blood-pumping numbers (“Predecessor”, “Prophecy”), and more mid-paced, marches (“Eternal”, “The Smoke Settles”, “The Harrowing Reprisal”) and songs that mix both. Standout tracks like “The Wolf’s Ghost”, “Asgard” (which reminds me a little of “The Pursuit of Vikings”), and the title track, hit all the right melo-death itches, but with something a little extra. The synths are not going to be confused for Francesco Ferrini ( Fleshgod Apocalypse), but they are serviceable and do add to the proceedings.

That said, that little extra, as the album title hints, with the synths, is often also a bit of a sorrowful back current to many of the songs, with an almost Insomnium-like interweaving of sadness amid the crunch as heard on “Returning to War”, “Chasing Shadows” and “Sorrow on Midgard”. There isn’t a hint of mead swilling, beerhall tom foolery in sight.

With this and last year’s Exist in Ruin EP, that’s 2 Wormholedeath releases I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of months. It’s nice to see the small Italian label make some waves.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 5th, 2023

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