|Review: Manegarm - Nattvasen|
Label: Regain Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Viking Metal
Review online: December 18, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Despite fantastic art from the great Kris Verwimp, Manegarm's last disc Vargstenen never really caught fire for me. I liked it in places, but the whole was a bit too disjointed and never came together. I still prefer the more feral vibe of older Manegarm albums like Dodsfard, and Vargstenen was just too all over the place. Over time Manegarm have become less raw and extreme, and worked towards a more unified Folk/Black sound. After a string of flawed albums, it seems they have finally hit what they were aiming at.
Nattvasen is where they have finally throttled back the Black Metal rawness to create metal that will actually flow with the more melodic Folk vibe. Before it always seemed like Manegarm albums were a bunch of disparate parts: BM blasts and screeches, haunting folk melodies – all crammed and smashed together in such a way that while they both sounded good, they didn't segue naturally into one another. The two subgenres were fighting each other, not fusing to create even stronger music. At last Manegarm have managed to fuse Black Metal aggression with addictive Folk elements to create sweeping folk-fueled songs like "Nattsjal, Dromsjall" and the monstrous "I den Svartaste Jord". It helps that for the most part they let the guitars play the folk riffs, rather than trying to use traditional instruments for them, as this reduces the mental gear-shifting that is caused when the guitars stop and the fiddle starts. Not that they don't use traditional instruments at all here, they do, but they are much better integrated into the whole. Aggressive, heavy, and fiendishly hooky, Nattvasen stands as a great Folk Metal album, and Manegarm's best one yet.
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