Sound — 9
Folk metal is a very broad branch of it's common denominator, "metal." You have bands that are more acoustic, with the occasional double bass driven distortion-fest, you have the bands that are very heavy and downtuned with occasional acoustic breaks, and then you have Manegarm. Stylistically, it is very difficult to describe exactly what Mnegarm sounds like. Imagine folk melodies, being played with heavy distortion; imagine intense death metal with violins and flutes taking the leads instead of guitars; imagine the combination of gorgeous, operatic style vocals, mixed with the growls of a viking metal band. Manegarm combines everything so well, they could easily be considered masters of folk, or gods of metal. The cleanliness of the sound is key, every riff is distinct and easy to pick out, especially in the acoustic points in the album. The solos (from guitar, flute and violin) cut through above the mix, but without being too intrusive and interrupting the flow, very well done. Drums are clear and precise, no mistakes or anything (which is more than I can say about some past albums haha). I honestly have nothing negative to critique on sound, it gets a 9/10 from me.
Lyrics — 10
Now, I honestly can't say much on the subject of lyrics, seeing as I don't speak the language they are written in (Swedish), so rather than critiquing the lyrics themselves, I will give my opinion on the way they blend with the music itself. For the metal parts of the album, the band brings in an Operatic female singer for the acoustic breaks, which is very beautiful, and creates some gorgeous harmonies with all the instruments, outstanding. The growls are deep and haunting, where the clean singing (by the same growler) is very intricate, and impressive how he can make the switches between sounds so swiftly. The counter melodies between vocals and instruments is great, but some points in the album have both synchronized, which is a very difficult thing to do, but is executed very well. For the solely acoustic numbers (there are three of them), the singer does a very nice job. All edge in his voice is all but gone, and the melodies (again) are absolutely gorgeous. "Eld" truly showcases how a heavy and very metal band can stretch their wings, and write some gorgeous acoustic music. Great, great acoustic songs. Though I can't understand them, I absolutely love what the vocals are doing in this album, and I will give it a very.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is my new favorite from Manegarm (replacing my previous favorite, Nordstjarnans Tidslder). With it's amazing production value, and even more impressive song writing, this album is my very favorite of the year. I love the way they have perfectly fused Folk with Metal, maintaining the roots of both. Some stand out songs: Ur Sjalslig Dod, Visioner P Isen, I Underjorden, Vargstenen (my favorite off of this album) and Eld. If I was only able to save one album from my collection, this album would be the one. I urge anyone who is looking to introduce themselves into the folksier side of metal, this is the album to get, bar none.