Himinbjorg: Wyrd

French Viking black metal – wyrd but true

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France isn’t a territory you’d normally associate with either Vikings (although of course, their exploits in the country are well documented) or Viking metal, but if we’re talking black metal, that’s a different story.

Himinbjorg have been combining the influence of all three for almost 20 years now and though they’ve always remained a pretty underground proposition, they’ve contributed some decent tunes to the genre in their time.

Like its predecessor, Wyrd arrives after a five-year silence and, aptly, comes across as a rather unrushed and confident-sounding album, despite the fast pace of some of its material. As before, epic atmospheres and melody frequently surface, with some parts that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Hollywood soundtrack.

That said, this is for the most part a far cry from the more cinematic and polished side of Viking metal, with nods back to the group’s 90s black metal beginnings, not least in the embittered croaky vocals that surface amid the more rousing clean-sung parts.