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Review: Feskarn - Raise Your Swords
Raise Your Swords

Label: Pesttanz Klangschmiede
Year released: 2012
Duration: 30:38
Tracks: 8
Genre: Viking Metal


Review online: January 8, 2014
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 1.5/5 (30%) (2 Votes)

For sake of ease I tend to split bands being billed as Viking metal into two categories. On the one hand you have the more serious, epic acts like Moonsorrow and Finsterforst, and then on the other are the more hyperactive, happy-go-lucky acts like early Thyrfing and Heathen Foray. Of course there is plenty of shade in between as far as these Viking bands go, though it makes it easier for me, and what I'm getting at, easier to explain what Feskarn sound like.

Feskarn certainly fall onto the second hand, with their decidedly brazen approach, although their production would have ideally kept them in touch with acts like Windir or Falkenbach were it not for Feskarn's relative obnoxiousness. The music is certainly built up from a Finnish melodic death metal base, with keys and folk instruments slapped on top and wrapped in rawer than expected production, ensuring a more underground vibe. The material and songwriting itself is well done, if applied almost fully to previously established formulas, although the band certainly play with the kind of energy and vigor which calls to mind the early work of Finnish exports like Kalmah or Norther.

The vocals certainly retain that yappy Finnish styled approach, which is definitely another aspect Feskarn have in common with the aforementioned acts, and sadly one of the band's weak spots. The vocals aren't really enjoyable or exciting in the slightest, and add little to the music. This is a bit of a shame due to the consistently good quality throughout the album. As I said, there's energy in spades here, and surprisingly some more grounded, well thought out moments here or there which hint at some real future potential.

Despite the energy, and general enjoyable quality of the songs, this is highly derivative as you might have guessed. All the Finnish-style stuff here is definitely something you'll have heard before, especially with the bands in the style who adopt a folksy approach. Outside of that there's an odd Alestorm-sounding number in closer "Sea Bottom" which could have been on Captain Morgan's Revenge (seriously), and in general some familiar sounding music.

On the whole though, I can't complain all that much. Outside of the monotonous vocals there isn't anything bad going on here, and a lot of the hyperactive energy can become seriously infectious. Feskarn leave us off with a good deal of promise, and from what I gathered on Raise Your Swords I feel the band could go down one of two routes. They could streamline their sound, get better production and run along with the likes of Heathen Foray and Adorned Brood, or they could further expand on the aforementioned grounded moments, offering something that might hold up past a couple of admittedly fun listens.

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