So MÅNEGARM started their careers with a record called "Nordstjärnans Tidsålder". It took them two years to come with their follow-up recording, which is again released by Displeased Records. Let's see if "Havets Vargar" can match the fantastic debut album.
The first thing that's clear is that the production has greatly improved. The sound is much more powerful than on "Nordstjärnans Tidsålder", but like I said in that review, it doesn't really matter in the final rating. Fortunately there hasn't changed too much in the musical style of the band either, as they still play a fantastic blend of Black Metal and Folk. Opener "Havets Vargar" is truly fantastic, and is the ultimate MÅNEGARM track as it contains acoustic sections, pianos, violins, female vocals, and most of all fast and melodic Black Metal. On subsequent track "Trädatanke (Fader Tids Död)" the band continues in the same vein as the opening track, although it contains more typical Folk rhythms for as far as those have been defined.
Altogether "Havets Vargar" is a bit heavier in the heavy parts (though one could argue that a stronger production could be the cause of this), but also has much more calm Folk interludes, without having much more Folk than on "Nordstjärnans Tidsålder". Again there is an acoustic track, this time instrumental and titled "Fädernes Jord", on which the only slight remark is the fact that you can hear the fingers slide on the strings of the guitar. The band played a bit with the integration of the elements, and changes it a bit without losing their sound, or without making their previous album look bad. Actually, the funny thing is that before I wanted to write these reviews I kind of had the thought to give "Havets Vargar" a slightly lower rating than I gave "Nordstjärnans Tidsålder", pretty much for undefined reasons. But upon listening to both albums back to back I can only conclude that neither of the two releases is not as good as the other. So my verdict still stands: MÅNEGARM is the most underrated of the Swedish Metal bands that I ever heard, and by far the best Folk Black Metal band around! And again I have to conclude with a "you have to check out everything" recommendation of the best tracks.
This band is so incredible it's a shame they get so little attention. Once again: MÅNEGARM is the best Metal band that uses Folk elements in their music. Anyone with affinity for Metal and Folk has to think why they don't own "Havets Vargar" (or "Nordstjärnans Tidsålder"). Watch out for the new album "Dödsfärd", coming in April 2003! (Online April 17, 2003)