Review Summary: Hail them!
Four years after forming in Sweden and releasing several demos, Mithotyn’s patience and hard work paid off with the release of their first full length LP, In the Sign of the Ravens in 1997. This almost unheard-of band wasted no time recording their next record the same year and the result is King of the Distant Forest, containing 11 tracks and a playing time of less than 57 minutes.
Released in 1998 on Invasion Records, the band has more fully matured and developed their own sound. This album could be labeled many genres. Viking metal, folk metal, melodic black metal, black metal, pagan metal, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t matter. The riffs are highly catchy (specifically in the title track, Hail Me and From the Frozen Plains) and have a heavy, fast, melodic and definite folk influence to them. The vocals are quite black metal-ish and could best be described as high-pitched shrieks and growls. They might annoy some people because there isn’t a whole lot of variety in the songs and the vocals are a little too high in the mix. There is even a hint of power metal influence in the songs, but not enough to turn you away with cheese. Lyrics deal with Viking warriors, battles and mythology to create a semi epic medieval atmosphere. One example is from the tune Under the Banner:
Under the banner of our gods
We ravage this land of heresy
In the name of the Aesirs we are chosed
To fight this invading Christianity
The drum work is swift and the bass can be heard most of the time. The first half of the album is the strongest and while the second half isn’t bad, it tends to drag a bit and get uninteresting. Songs like We March and The Vengeance are examples of this. But the album ends on a fine note with the melodious and memorable instrumental, In a Time of Tales.
Overall, this hidden gem is worth your time to listen to. It’s a solid listen and doesn’t have any tracks that stick out as extremely weak. The music is aggressive and roars METAL. Folk metal fans in particular should enjoy Mithotyn. I’m sure the Gods of Asgard are drinking cold root beer to this sweet record.