Sound — 9
I went to the record store not really expecting what I was in for as far as The Varangian Way was concerned but I think over all I made a good purchase. The songs are not all classics of the viking metal genre (I'm not sure what else to call it, folk metal maybe) but this record is fun to listen to and doesn't really get old. To Holmgard and Beyond is a great opening track and really settles into a groove fast while having an adventurous and powerful chorus to back it up. The added keyboards played by the vocalist make the music even more attractive to hear. Cursed Be Iron is my favorite though because Nygard has his best growling part here plus I like listening to the verses with his thick Scandinavian accent.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics all seem to connect with eachother to tell a story about a journey to Miklagard which apparently is near the Bosporous around where Istanbul is, if the map on the back of the CD is anything to go by. The adventure seems to start near the gulf where St. Petersburg Russia is and then it follows a path down the Dneiper River and eventually reach the Dardanelles or something. Warlord Nygard is a very versatile vocalist because he has a very soothing and clean normal voice yet he can really let loose if he decides to go into growl mode. His best performance was on Cursed Be Iron but he also performed well on Five Hundred and One.
Overall Impression — 9
This CD was a lot of fun to listen to but I think it was too short unfortunately. If the band could have added at least one more section to the story of their journey, this album would have been quite a bit better. The tune In The Court of Jarislief is a very good way for the band to create some ebb and flow in the midst of the heavy songs. I admire the fact that they take off bands such as Korpiklaani and Finntroll by having a violinist. Best songs are Cursed Be Iron, To Holmgard and Beyond, and Five Hundred and One. Not an amazing album but definately a success.