Sound — 8
Straight away the opening track aptly named "The beginning" hits you, with a sum up of all the various powerful, incredibly harmonic riffs that appear through the album. The Band's sound is clearer than before, combining Melodies with viking hymms in conjunction with clever wordplay that is rooted in Viking mythology, without a cheesy sound. Overall, it tells a Tale. From hearing the album (without the bonus tracks: "Valkyries flight" & "Valhalla") I noticed a distinct '80s flair, especially with the vocals on "The Hammer Of Thor" aswell as some of the solo's (and yes, there are many).
Lyrics — 10
The Lyrics are deeply rooted in Viking Mythology, with clever wordplays and a continuing storyline throughout all the songs (even the instrumentals). For example: "Honour your brother's name, unarmed or blind/Let me aid you in your aim, don't stay behind let's/Maim immortality and death to a deity." From "Brother's Bane", is cleverly worded into the actions that "Loki" the Fire god and part Giant took to Kill "Baldur" The god who was immune to everything except Mistletoe (This varies with different tales, but the death remains the same) when everyone was throwing things at "Baldur" (as he was immune). The legend goes, that "Loki" gave "Hr" (Baldur's brother) a arrow with mistletoe on it to shoot "Baldur" with. "Hr" is blind as so thinks he is jsut shootign with a normal arrow, unwittedly killing his brother. "Try as you may, you can't make all mourn/We're born alone and only death is our dowry/There he will stay, left to wonder why/We die alone into from where there is no return." From "The ride to Hel" Follow's this Tale, in which (after checking viking legend) "Hel" (the Cold place where you go if you do not die in glorious battle) agree's to let Baldur leave if all things Living and dead weep for him. A giantess refuses to weep, and so "Baldur" remains in "Hel". "The Hunt" (again, I think) refer's to "Fenrir's" two wolf children chasing and finally managing to Swallow the Sun and the moon who they chased eternally. "Lord of Lies" Refers to "Fenrir" The wolf-son of "Loki" breaking his bonds. He was originally Tied up on the Island of "Armwartner" with a magic ribbon made by the dwarves. "Tyr" had to agree to place his hand in Fenrir's jaw to get him to agree to be tied up (In a game of strength, Fenrir had to try and break the ribbon). "Ragnarok" Suprisingly, is based around Ragnarok, the last battle between Giants and Gods, the end of the world. There are many more tracks inbetween these, all based on these last few ages of the Gods. An Excellent usage of Lyrics, Mythology and Legend.
Overall Impression — 9
It varies Quite abit from some of the older material "How far to Asguard", in that it Follow's a Direct storyline. Musicly, It includes the usages of Pitch harmonics, and many, many solo's. The most impressive song on the Album IMO is "Brother's Bane". The sheer power of this Viking Hymm amasses to a breathtaking power in the Chorus. I'm really enjoying the storyline, especially the way the lyrics are cleverly intertwined. If It was stolen, I would most definetly buy it again (But I got it on my pc atm, so no worries).