Karl Beckman finally solidifying the King of Asgard comes forth with their latest release “…To North”. Chock full of viking metal rips and roars, this release is how viking metal should be, loud, proud, and in your face. This release again features the captivating and alluring vocals of Heléne Blad as well as the shredder Jimmy Hedlund of Falconer and Supreme Majesty. All in all this release is shaping up nicely!
It takes really only a few bars of the opener ‘The Nine Worlds Burn’ to realize that this is proper viking metal naye proper metal, pounding riffs with some very nice bass accentuation followed by some great uptempo playing along with the vocals that are delivered in a nice metal way that is not quite screaming and not quite growling. This is also where Ms. Blad chimes in with some really fitting notes of her own. All in all this track is quite keeping with that viking metal style of beat and riff while adding KoA‘s own steel panache. Galloping into ‘The Dispossessed’ we still get that great powerful viking thing all the while we know that these are not cheap imitations but rather masters of their own craft. Their Norse driven soundscape is theirs and theirs alone, it belongs to none, these power riffs and beats come only from KoA.
“Gap of Ginnungs” is where the second guest Mr. Hedlund makes his appearance. It is really noticeable when Hedlund busts out and yet it keeps in with the theme of the song. This is probably their most epic sounding of all the tracks, with the chorus having a real tankard-of-ale-sing-along feel to it. This is really the standout track in that it captures what I think is the essence of King of Asgard. Viking backed, metal to the core, great craftsmanship, wonderful architecture, all in all the total package of the band. The guest shredder doesn’t hurt their case either.
There is no filler here, all the tracks are stacked floor to ceiling with everything metal. I may have not commented on each track but rest assured this has been playing on my iPhone almost non-stop for three days and all the tracks hold the promise of metal salvation. Production value is high as well, the perfect tweak and blend of everything was achieved in the mix and master session. This is certainly a must for the serious viking metal enthusiasts out there. If you are looking for a nice entry into the genre start here, the viking part does not hit you over the head but its rather a nice subtle aftertaste much like a fine french wine. However, let’s not treat this release as a fine wine, lets not let it age on the bands shelf but rather lets rush out and get this one. It’s the perfect soundtrack for drinking your wine at home, or well, drinking anything at home, just make sure King of Asgard is loud and proud.