Various Artists
Pagan Fire

What is Pagan/Viking/Folk Metal? Well according to Nuclear Blast and their recently released CD/DVD compilation to promote the upcoming 2008 Pagan Fest tour, it’s a number of things;

It could be veterans of chunky death metal with plundering Viking lyrics (Amon Amarth’s “Victory March”, Unleashed’s “The Long ships are Coming”), it could be epic hymns of solemn pagan pride (Enslaved’s “Isa”, Primordial’s “Empire Falls”, Moonsorrow’s “Kylan Paasa”), galloping, rousing synth heavy numbers (Ensiferum’s “Deathbringer From the Sky”, Turisas’s “Battle Metal”, black metal heathenry (“Falkenbach’s “Laeknishender”), heck it could even be about winter (Wintersun’s “Winter Madness”) or jovial booze ridden humpa (Finntroll’s “Nedgang”, Korpiklaani’s “Tapporauta”).

Either way, Nuclear Blast has delivered a pretty impressive collection of tracks from some of the genre’s heavy hitters as well as some fast risers such as Wintersun, Eluveitie, and Equilibrium. Though fans of the genre will no doubt have most of the tracks contained on this 16 song CD/DVD, as yet unreleased tracks from Equilibrium, Korpliklaani and Eluveitie may make the purchase worthwhile until those respective albums are released here shortly.

On the positive side, there is a wade array of styles here, covering all avenues of Pagan/Viking/Metal and I must applaud the inclusion of Thyrfing’s “Host”, one of the most perfect examples of the genre around, and Bathory’s fitting tribute of “Song to Hall Up High” opens the collection up perfectly. On the downside, I think a better Bal-Sagoth track could have been chosen other than “Shackled to the Trilithon of Kutulu”- how about anything from Battle Magic? And how about some of the rising US bands in the genre such as Helcaraxe or Oakhelm?

I did not receive the DVD portion of this compilation but it contains videos from Amon Amarth (“In Pursuit Of Vikings”), Helheim (“Jernskogen”), Tyr (“Regin Smidur”) Battlelore (“Storm Of The Blades”), Enslaved (“Path To Vanir”), Einherjer (“Ironbound”), Wintersun (“Beyond The Dark Sun”), Ensiferum (“Ahti”), Finntroll (“Trollhammaren”). And while these are readily available on youtube, having them on one one DVD together with 16 solid tracks might be tempting.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 15th, 2008

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