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Review: Trelleborg - Lands of Njord
Lands of Njord

Label: Stygian Crypt Productions
Year released: 2010
Duration: 60:17
Tracks: 11
Genre: Viking Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: August 10, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Lands of Njord

Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (6 Votes)

Viking/Pagan Metal is not so much about the music as it is about the lyrical themes and, to a lesser extent, instrumentation. Styles range from Black to Power, and many in between. Russia's Trelleborg are more closely aligned with the Power Metal leanings of bands like Rebellion or Korpiklaani than, say, the Black Metal of Bathory or Amon Amarth. To be sure there are plenty of keyboards supporting the crunchy guitars, but it's the accordion that gives Lands of Njord that Korpiklaani party-metal, almost pirate metal in places, feel.

Trelleborg's longship is captained by Lord Volland who handles the vocals, guitars, keyboards and, occasionally, bass. He is also the main songwriter and, atypical for the Russian bands I've encountered, he sings mostly in English. Lord Volland employs mostly clean vocals, but occasionally mixes things up with some effective growls as on the kick-ass "Gunbjorn (Birth of Skerriz)" and the double-kick driven "Born Under Sign." Honestly, I wish he'd use the growls more often, in contrast to his clean vocals, as they are very effective. Lands of Njord cruises along through the first four songs (including the obligatory instrumental intro) in heavy fashion, but then things get a little weird. Accordion player Oksi makes her presence felt on the instrumental "Metsanhumppai," a speedy little number that is a lot of fun. However, how many bands do you know that put two instrumentals back to back? In some very odd sequencing, the slow and frankly dull instrumental "At the Last" is next on the album. Clocking in at 4:39, "At the Last" is about 4:00 too long. It never gets anywhere or builds any momentum and breaks the flow of the album. And just when you think you're out of the woods with another kick-ass sounding song, "Sudden Arise," a song that would not be out of place on a Timeless Miracle album, there is a steel drum break in the middle. Another flow killer. Lands of Njord gets back on track with the excellent (and also Timeless Miracle worshipping) "From the Seas." There are a lot of sound effects (crowds, interiors of pubs, wind, waves, etc.) amidst the final few songs. While the songs are as good as those at the beginning of the album, the effects give them a somewhat gimmicky feel.

Despite the weirdness of the middle of the album, I really enjoyed Lands of Njord. Trelleborg play with conviction, even if they aren't the flashiest musicians out there. Their sound isn't the heaviest either, but it's heavy enough. Not destined to change the face of metal or provide a serious treatise on Norse mythology, Trelleborg have created an enjoyable, if not supremely memorable, record. And you know what? Sometimes it's good to just have some fun. Check out Lands of Njord.

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