Now well into their stride, Icelandic folk/Viking six-piece Skálmöld are picking up fans left, right and centre who have been wowed by their live shows and enticed by their robust, Maiden-esque guitar hooks.
Straying away from the typical folk aesthetic, you won’t find Skálmöld donning animal hide or war paint, but they do have three guitarists, which not only looks awesome onstage but helps to make Vögguvísur Yggdrasils a more metallic tribute to traditional Icelandic music.
With expectations high it’s disappointing that their fourth album doesn’t bound in like 2014’s Með Vættum, which was a furious epic journey from the get-go. Instead Muspell welcomes us in with an ogre-ish attack of dragging, acerbic metal that sets the pace for a more measured interpretation of what we’re used to with Skálmöld. It’s not until Nidavellir that the energy picks up and the goodtime vibes come out. Skálmöld kick Icelandic ass when they are hurtling along at 100mph, not dragging their heels into the earth. More of the former would have been welcome.