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Review: Gjallarhorn - Nordheim

Label: Dragonheart Records
Year released: 2005
Duration: 39:06
Tracks: 6
Genre: Viking Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: July 15, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 3.57/5 (71.43%) (7 Votes)

If you're like me, the phrase "Doomsword side project" sends you right into an acquisitive frenzy. I love Doomsword, I love Epic Viking Metal, so it should be no surprise that I like this album a lot. Now the idea of the Doomsword guys doing a Bathory tribute is really cool, but this album is not quite as cool as I had hoped.

This really sounds a lot like Doomsword – to the point where at times you will wonder why they bothered making this a separate project. The riffs, the production, Deathmaster's distinctive vocals – it all screams 'Doomsword!'. True, there is a very deliberate Bathory flavor added to this. There are some keys here to evoke the sounds of "Odens Ride Over Nordland", some heavier moments where the vocals get sort of gruff, and on the 'The Day Odin Stood Still" there is a deliberate effort to sing the vocals in such a way that they recall the slightly out-of-tune aspect of Quorthon's vocals on "Hammerheart". So overall, this comes off as Doomsword trying to sound a bit like Bathory from that era.

On the one hand, I like the idea, and it works pretty well, as there are multiple places on this album that will make you smile and say 'man, that sounds like Bathory!' On the other hand, the songwriting here, while good, never transcends that and becomes great. The riffs are pretty good, but they never really kick you know? Maybe the band just doesn't profit well from the Bathory comparison, as almost no album has riffs like "Nordland I" or "Hammerheart".

So this is a cool Viking Metal disc that fans of the genre will enjoy, as long as they aren't expecting the be-all-end-all. Unfortunately, being on Dragonheart, very few people will actually get the chance to buy it, but maybe the Bathory connection will urge that miserly label to print more than fifty copies of the album. "Nordheim" is worth tracking down.

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