Review Summary: A traditional viking metal album with pleasant old-school vibes, but a little bit cheesy.
Let's forget about the debate on whether viking metal
is a truly a genre or not, as the particular "viking" concept clearly distinguishes numerous bands from many others. Traits like nordic mythology or battle oriented lyrics, folk elements, chanting vocals, and that certain "epic" feeling bond this style together, and they're not missing from this release either.
Cult Of Frey is a quite traditional band in a certain sense, especially due to the stylistic aspects. By The Blood of Odin...
has a rather old-schoolish sound, which is particularly similar to the viking-era Bathory albums, but in songs like 'Death In The Shield Wall (Song Of The Ravens)'
some similarities can be observed to bands like Isengard or Storm as well.
The album has a quite simple formula, since it contains pretty straight-forward riffing covered by synth melodies most of the time. Also it contains a lots of chanting vocals, in a rather mixed style of Bathory and Blind Guardian. You can hear some typical wind samples and clean guitar sections here and there as well, and the album contains a few "rest" songs without the distorted guitars, which is nice - but I personally believe they made them overlong. And that's my general impression through the album: the songs have their own themes, but there is no need to expand them for so long, because it dampens the listening experience. Even though it is not perfect in most cases, with a few exceptions like for my personal favourite song, 'The Bravest Ones Are First To Fall'
, the longer runtime wasn't an issue, because they managed to keep it interesting and energic for almost nine minutes - I wish this could be the case with the rest. Despite that, I think this was a quite pleasant album, especially because I really enjoy this more old-school-ish production, and because the album flows nicely. And to be honest: what's not to love about an epic (and cheesy) viking album?
When at first I saw this album cover, I knew I needed to check this out. After many years of experience it was an easy guess: this release could be either terrible or great... and actually it turned out good, one from the better kind of viking metal releases.