I received MÅNEGARM's newborn with the mail a couple of weeks ago. Anxious like a hooker's right hand when your 20 minutes are up I demolished that damn plastic stuff that everybody just can't seem to get the CD out off and threw the disc in my 10 year old JVC. But what the fuck?! I got the wrong record this time… I took the CD out, looked at it and still it said MÅNEGARM "Dodsfard" hmm… I wondered if my stereo was fucked but it seemed to work okay. Well what the hell? I'll just give it another spin anyway. But still MÅNEGARM didn't come out of my speakers…
This was a complete different band. The MÅNEGARM I knew played furious Black Metal with intense blasting and some heavy folk inspiration. "Dodsfard" is nothing like that except the Folk…the Folk is still there and you know what? It's still all good baby! Cause that CD never came out again and not because my stereo really was fucked… I JUST DIDN'T WANT TO TAKE IT OUT DAMMIT!!!
MÅNEGARM 2003 is better than ever. But you have to accept that they have changed a lot… to the better if you ask me. It's more folky and you can't ignore that they are strongly influenced by bands like THYRFING and especially STORM and OTYG in the way they implement the folkish tunes with violins … Oh yes! The violin sounds soooooo sweeeet in my ears.
It's not much Black Metal anymore but more death. Mostly mid-paced tempo although you will get some blasting once in a while especially on "Vrede" (Rage) which is an all out piece of drunken, sword fighting, village burning, Viking-brutality but like most of the songs there are a lot of tempo switches and in the middle you get a beautiful violin-solo to calm you down just a little bit before everything goes crazy again!
<Just getting my breath here>
The vocals sound a lot like the ones in THYRFING. High pitched Death screams and it suits the album fine. Although the drums are not as fast as before they are very powerful and more precise. On their previous album sometimes it seemed like the drummer just couldn't keep up with the rest of the band. Well he can now for sure. The guitars are heavy than before and played tight as a virgin.
After a moody obligatory violin intro you have the opening song "I Evig Tid" (For All Time). It opens up with a folky mid-paced melody with a bit of an EINHERJER stomping sound to it. It has an up-tempo shift in the middle and you are forced to bang your head or you shall not go to Valhalla (Where the Gods live). It's a good introduction to the album and what to expect.
"Ravenous" is one of the strongest songs on the album with a driving melody that just bangs into your forehead like Mjølner (Thor's hammer dude!!! Get into the mood!). It has all powerful vocals and there are lot's of double bass drumming here like the lightings from… yeah well, Mjølner again!
"Agirs Vrede" (Agir's Rage) has some crazy vocals. It sounds a bit like Fenriz on the STORM album just a bit more exaggerated and you can really feel that he sings his damn heart out on this one. The melody is also very STORM inspired. I love it! And so it goes on. The songs are very varied and there are lots of surprises on this little jewel. The only negative to say might be the length but what the fuck? Just put the little bastard on repeat!!!
But remember that you have to listen to the album with a bit of an open mind if you are an incarnated fan. It's not a big leap like ENSLAVED have done but it's still a rather large big step forward (?) I know I won't stop listening to this album for a long time and dare I say that this is the best Viking record since ENSIFERUM's latest? Sure I do!!! (Online December 15, 2003)
Guest reviewer Jord (Nick)