Nothgard
Warhorns of Midgard

Hailing from Germany, Nothgard play a form of fun, epic and bombastic folk viking metal akin to country mates Equilibrium and Finsterforst, but also cull heavily from the genres other heavyweights, notably Ensiferum.

Bouncy happy amicable metal is the order of the day with a power metal back bone beefed up with melodic death metal and some harsh rasps and growls. Of course, it’s all backed by plenty of sweeping synths and folky instrumentation here and there (mouth harp, accordion etc) and a lavish production and presentation

There’s nothing on the album that’s going to reinvent the genre or convert folk/viking metal detractors, but I have to admit the album is a very fun listen. Admittedly, opener “Lex Talonis” is actually a pretty bland number hardly setting great expectations, but with the rousing, following “Arminius” Nothgard hit their stride and never look back, despite a little repetition towards the albums end and songs that are about a minute too long . “Under the Serpent Sign” is downright catchy, with a killer opening and mid song jig a that might be the band’s signature song. “Einherjer” slows things down a little with a moodier, mid-paced Amon Amarth -ish march before the albums middle point spoken word interlude “‘Shadows Arise”.

“Blackened Sky” gets things going again with a pretty standard epic number before “Victory” delivers yet another of the albums standouts, and feature a few more deeper vocals. These two tracks highlight that Nothgard are simply more enjoyable when delivering shorter sharper, mire direct bursts of bombastic folk metal (later seen again for “Spirit” and “Rise after Falling”) rather than dragging out their songs to 5 and 6 minutes (“Warhorns of Midgard”, “Ragnarok”), though they are still enjoyable.

The comparison to the bands mentioned in the opening paragraph are more than likely enough to convince folks if Nothgard are worthwhile or not, but personally the band, along with Skalmond‘s debut, show that folk/viking metal in 2011 has some promising and energetic young acts to continue fighting the battle.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 12th, 2011

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