Review Summary: Havets Vargar might not please people who expect epic melodies and crushing rhythms, but black metal enthusiasts will be more than satisfied with this album.
Currently, there is a debate about how real Viking metal should sound like. Some people claim that viking metal is supposed to sound like straight black metal while other people claim the opposite. In my humble opinion, Viking metal is music that should be very heavy, melodic and never go above anything more than a steady mid tempo rhythm. Manegarm
is a viking metal band that has managed to mix all three and you can hear this through their entire catalogue. In the beginning, Manegarm
began as a black metal outfit, but now the band has moved away from black metal and incorporated more folk elements instead. However, one thing is for sure, Manegarm
have always used three critical elements in their music: a violin, a female background singer and acoustic guitar interludes that have always mixed into their pounding brand of viking metal. More or less, you can hear all of these elements in their entire catalogue to date and this is one reason why the band has been able to experiment and develop their music further.
(or Wolfs Of The Sea) is their second album that is dedicated to the Vikings who defied the stormy seas (according the band) in such of discovery. This album is basically black metal, pure and simple, and is also the only album that sounds similar to their debut album as well. This time around though, the production has been improved, the instrumental skills have increased significantly and drummer Erik Gravsio's vocal duties are ten times better than their initial vocalist, giving a very intense performance through forceful raspy screams. These screams are without a doubt some of the best that Erik has delivered to date as well as his drum performance. The blast-beats are booming, pounding and with more rhythmic patterns intertwined throughout the music. Even if the guitars are based on techniques that are common to the black metal scene, they still have a very powerful sound. A good majority of the riffs are tremolo picked and high-pitched accompanied by some more casual power chord riffing patterns as well. The extremely frantic guitar picking contains some intricate melodic structures, giving the tracks a more melodic touch to them. Vinternattskvade
, a particularly good example of this, showcases some really epic melodies towards the end of the song while Havets Vargar
utilizes a bit more of an atmospheric oriented tremolo picked melody throughout.
When compared to any other album in Manegarm
discography, this can sound pretty extreme. The incredible energy in the drum work, the precise and fast guitar picking and intense screaming make this album a lot more edgy than any of their other releases. All of the standard folk elements like the acoustics, violins and female wailing are scattered throughout in decent amounts and the overall content pulses in a great energy. Unfortunately, this album suffers from a few noticeable flaws though; primarily the dreaded repetitiveness. Most of the tracks sound similar to one another and no single track has any real stand out moments except for the melodies in Vinternattskväde
. Even if the album is quite monotonous in almost every aspect, it will still reek havoc on the ears of the listener. Havets Vargar
might not please people who expect epic melodies and crushing rhythms, but black metal enthusiasts will be more than satisfied with this album.
+ Incredibly intense vocal performance
+ Flawless drum performance
+ Energetic and intense music while still retaining its melody
- Very repetitive
-- Havets Vargar
Final rating will be a 3.5/5