MITHOTYN’s second album “King Of The Distant Forest” is an album that I have neglected. I have always considered the next release “Gathered Around The Oaken Table” as their masterpiece and even if the first album, “In The Sign Of The Ravens” is clearly weaker, this one isn’t. I don’t know why I haven’t really listened to this before, but the melodies are clearly accentuated, folk-tinged riffing is absolutely flawless and the Black Metal growls gnaw deep into me with their intensity. Maybe I have let this album be because I appreciated the calmer vocals of “Gathered Around The Oaken Table” more during the time when I discovered MITHOTYN, because I still wasn’t that comfortable with growling back then.
So, I am glad for this rediscovery and I am here to share it with you ... exciting, isn’t it. The album starts out with the title track, which could be the album’s best song. After that follows a whole album filled with great riffing that sounds folky in itself, because of the great rhythms used. The drumming of Karsten Larsson is perfect for the Black Metal-based Viking Metal we are greeted with here. The lyrics are also a source of amazement. I suppose that Stefan Weinerhall is behind them, and his lyrics are almost better here than they are in FALCONER. The guitar melodies and riffs are unique and must be the focal point when listening to this album. The innovativeness and variation is astonishing. It is hard to describe them batter than that they are fast, very well done and incredibly folky.
Track after track goes by and each reveals something own and interesting. I don’t really want to finish this review ... so I go on a little while more. The production is not the clearest, but not the worst either, and that is perfect for this album, because it adds to the mystical and ancient atmosphere created. That is actually one of the most interesting aspects of MITHOTYN and even early FALCONER: how can they sound so damn Ancient Norse at times, at this speed? Some of the songs separate themselves from the usual style of this record; “Trollvisa” and “In A Time Of Tales” are even more folky than the rest and call forth pictures of dark autumnal forests. The best songs might still be the first four actually, even if there is no large drop in quality or anything of the like.
So, I guess I have come to the part where I recommend this album to someone, either to be nice to the album because I have been mean in my review, or, like now, because I really want you to hear it. This album is good, but not for everyone. You have to appreciate some form of extreme Metal to stand the Black Metal in the drumming and vocals and from there be able to be satisfied by the remarkable folk melodies. This maybe doesn’t really reach “Gathered Around The Oaken Table”, but it is pretty darn close!
(Online January 11, 2008)