“Field Of Strength” is the rough translation of Eastern German Viking Metallers THRUDVANGAR’s name, a befitting moniker, if you look at the lyrical content and the musical direction. “Zwischen Asgard Und Midgard” (“Between Asgard And Midgard”) is the sextet’s third full length album and it shows that they have matured over the course of the ten years they’ve been in existence now.
Many of the usual ingredients can be found in THRUDVANGAR’s sound, harsh vocals, often up-tempo rhythms, lush keyboards, Viking lyrics in their native tongue, nice melodies, so the sober look at this does not show anything that would elevate the band over the dozens of similarly oriented clans out there, so no experiments to be found, we’ll have to dig a little deeper, I guess.
While still not breaking any new ground, the Cöthen-based band’s songwriting reveals more than the standard, though, striking a very good balance between gruff aggression and beautiful atmospheres, with emotional density and the suiting musical realization of the lyrics. The keyboards often are a bone of contention in this genre and THRUDVANGAR also make at times extensive use of them, often from the carpet division, but thankfully they never take over to become the lead instrument, always staying behind the guitars to keep the gruff appearance up.
Usually the interplay between the faster and more atmospheric passages is, where the Saxons can show their prowess, as they weave these two extremes together for best effect, creating interesting and dynamic compositions that might not necessarily convert the uninitiated, yet should definitely satisfy the already infected fan with its catchiness, be it through the storm of “Thor”, the more atmospheric “Runenstein” (“Rune Stone”) or the irresistible melody of “Midsommernacht” (“Midsummernight”), I wish they had used the mouth harp a little more often, as the opening of “Siegvater” proves, it can add quite a bit to a song.
The production and visual packaging round off a good Viking Metal album that stays away from the big choirs and heroic clear vocals, while maintaining a hymnic character throughout the album, if you like the style, thumbs up!
(Online May 27, 2008)