Review Summary: Nattvasen is not a step forward nor a step backwards in Manegarm's career but the band delivers what the fans expects from a Manegarm album.Manegarm
came to the metal scene in 1995 and has been active ever since. Here you have a great example of how a band can evolve and grow from one musical shape into another. Manegarm was more or less just standard unknown viking metal at the start but now they have grown into one of Sweden's greatest and most unique folk metal bands. Nodstjarnans Tidsalder
became the blueprint for the musical greatness that the band was going to reach. The debut album was poorly produced decent black metal with some folk elements and folk instruments. Havets Vargar
had the same attributes as the debut but this time the band was exploding of energy and speed. Sound production was greatly improved, the overall performance from the band members was dramatically increased and Erik Gravsiö became the new vocalist. It was in their third release the band started to incorporate more influences from folk music while reducing the black metal ingredients. Dodsfard
was a completely different album from their previous work but it had some musical flaws due to the clash of the heavy metal and folk music.
As a little side-project the band released a little EP that only contained regular Swedish folk music. Urminnes Havd (The Forest Sessions
was a very nice break from all the metal madness. Suddenly the band released on of their greatest album to date. Vredens Tid
delivered what Dodsfard
was supposed to deliver. The folk metal fusion was now flawless, modern and pretty much perfected. The violins had a better sound; their female guest singer was given a lot more time for singing and the overall variety of the tracks was fantastic. Vargstenen
was later released and the band seemed to have finally found their sound. The concept album was just as great as Vredens Tid
, the only tweak was that the violin performance was taking care of all the lead work while the guitars was mainly focused on the rhythm sections. A couple of year has past since Vargstenen
...and then came Manegarm's
latest album, Nattvasen
. This is a very interesting album indeed. It follows the same path as Vredens Tid
. The crew are still using their hefty folk infused viking metal sound and it is just getting better. Vocalist and drummer Erik Gravsiö still knows how to deliver a powerful performance. His vocal expertise is pure gold. The music becomes very interesting and intriguing thanks to his vocals. His brutal growls and creepy shrieks makes you shiver while his loud shouting and clean vocals puts you in complete awe. His drumming is pretty solid too due to the fact that he is the vocalist at the same time. But his drumming is not of the aggressive kind though; he bashes his way through with un-complicated and catchy heavy beats and pedal work. It is no way near the explosive performance that he did in Havets Vargar
is which is his best performance to date.
If you compare Manegarm
and Amon Amarth
you will notice one huge musical difference and that is the guitar performances. Manegarm
is all about crushing power-chord mayhem and not monotone tremolo picking as Amon Amarth
. All the guitars have a very clear and sharp sound which is heavy and think at the same time. The guitar performance is nothing mind-blowing nor incredible dull though. You have a slew of catchy power-chord riffing, melodic leads, some intense tremolo picking plus the standard acoustic guitar that pops up a little now and then. There is sadly nothing to mention about the bass. You can detect a couple of lonely bass tunes and some bass-buzz but it remains hidden behind the fat guitars and booming drums.
has used folk music and folk instruments from the start and it has become one of the band's signature ingredient in their music. Nattvasen
has not as much violin melodies compared to Vargstenen
but there are some nice sounding violin solos and of course a lot of atmospheric and memorable violin melodies. And let’s not forget that there are even some flutes mixed in this time as well. In recent Manegarm
material you might have noticed this female back up singer who has this wonderful and angelic voice. This time she does not appear at all except in the title track. This is one of the biggest flaw in this album because she (or Umer Mossige-Norheim as she is called) usually delivers a very nice vocal performance once she has her moments. It is a huge disappointment that Umer isn't around; the music gets kind of depressive and slightly boring when Umer isn't around.
Folk or viking metal, call it whatever you like but Manegarm
is without a doubt of the greatest bands within this type of metal music. Their incredible knowledge of Norse mythology and musical experience makes them one of the best; unfortunately, they don't get the right amount of attention that they actually deserve. Nattvasen
is not a step forward nor a step backwards in Manegarm's
career but the band delivers what the fans expects from a Manegarm
album. Fans of Manegarm
will get this album no matter what, especially if you enjoy Vredens Tid
. Fans who are interested in bands within the folk and/or viking metal genre should definitely give this album a chance.
-- Nattvasen (This is probably one of the most epic and atmospheric tracks that the band has ever created. A mindblowing track. 5/5
-- Nattsjal, Dromsjal (This track takes you back the era of Vargstenen. A fast and incredibly catchy track with great violin melodies. 4.5/5
-- Draugen (A very intense and aggressive track that reminds you of Dodsfard. Not so catchy but it has a good thrust and it has a good brutality. 3.5/5