Månegarm: Månegarm

Swedish folk metallers still trying to find their balance

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If anyone’s still in doubt, these Swedes offer another reminder that there’s more to folk metal than kilts and drinking songs.

This has all the dancing rhythms and rustic melodies you could want, but is cast in a mournful, earthy tone with more nods to Hammerheart than Hammerfall, even when at its more fun moments (Odin Owns Ye All, for instance) and the hint of black metal bite stops it sounding twee.

Add in some stirring vocal harmonies, stirring Celtic violin interjections and an acoustic track (Blot) that sounds like a singalong in a 17th-century Stockholm tavern, and there’s a lot to enjoy here. That said, the bar for this school of Viking metal is set exceptionally high, and aficionados of Thyrfing and especially Falkenbach might find this a touch disposable in comparison – but then they’re probably familiar with one of Månegarm’s seven previous outings anyway.

When the atmosphere is thickest, the songs are less memorable, but when the hooks are greater, the atmosphere slips. It’s what stops this being a more enduring listen.