Myrkvar
Als een Woeste Horde

This is the debut from these Dutch folk/Viking metallers, and it’s a lively collection of good-natured anthems. The cover notes recommends it for fans of Heidevolk, Manegarm and Eluvetie. I’m not really big into this particular sub-genre, as my Viking/folk knowledge goes about as far as Moonsorrow, but this is tightly played and seems authentic enough, even if it is a bit, well, goofy.

“I Viking” starts things off with a more ragged attack than I expected, though – it comes off like Windir with a more jovial feel. You kinda know what to expect here – classic folk melodies, fiddle playing, guttural vocals and blasting beats. The song itself gets fairly repetitive, but I think that’s the point, ‘cause you’re supposed to be moving around and kicking your leather-clad heels up.

Starting with the third track, “Trollistarne,” things get a little stranger. The lurching, clumsy piano at the beginning certainly calls to mind Finntroll, but more disturbingly, it reminded me of the wtf mountain man dance scene from Belgian horror movie Calvaire. (Seriously, go look up Calvaire dance scene on YouTube.) I don’t know if accordion/synth is supposed to be menacing, but blastbeats or not, it makes songs like “Den ware held” and “Geboren uit oorlogslendenen” come off like Viking carnival music. In the grand scheme of things, black metal is weird enough as it is, but trollish folk/Viking accordion party music is definitely out there.

And that all boils down to one question, which kept popping up throughout the album: do people actually party to this stuff? The band itself certainly looks like they could – the CD booklet features pictures of decidedly unaggressive-looking, flaxen-haired dudes in conspicuously clean tunics and leather gear. Oh yeah, and there’s a chick too. It looks all very Ren Faire/LARPy to me, but that’s not a bad thing – those people seem to have a good time. I guess you could get some friends together and throw a backyard Viking BBQ with a lamb on a spit and horns full of mead. Actually, that sounds like a fun party idea, so if I ever do decide to go for that, at least I have my soundtrack ready.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
March 30th, 2009

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