Viking metal is a bit of a funny one. A majority of people who don’t know what it is compare it to Amon Amarth, which is incorrect. Amon state themselves, they are melodic death with lyrics about Vikings. These guys are proper Viking metal. Having listened to the first two albums from these guys, Fi’mbulvinter and …To North, I had high hopes for this album. I was not disappointed.
In Terms of the artwork, they’ve stuck to the similar simplistic covers prevalent across their two other albums. Some may criticize it for being too simplistic, compared with say Butchered at Birth. It does the job though.
The production on this album is gritty and raw, a stark contrast from the last one. In my opinion, it fits the overall feel of the album better than …To North. Not to say that …To North was a bad album. It just doesn’t have the energy and drive that the first album and this one have.
Kicking off the album is the single “The Runes of Hel”. Opening with a catchy riff and the growls of Karl Beckman (vocals, guitar), it sets the theme of the songs to come. I’m not sure whether it’s that noticeable, but it seems as though Karl has developed a slight lisp. It might just be the production, but it wasn’t present on the earlier albums.
The rest of album continues in a similar form, fast catchy riffs with slower melodic outings dotted here and there. All coupled with Karl bellowing down the microphone and Karsten (drums) delivering a mixture of blast and carpet roll beats. For those after a song having more melodic outings, “Highland Rebellion” is the one I’d recommend.
A stand out track on the album for me is the song “Omma”. The longest on the album, it opens with a solemn piano section before introducing the guitars and a small bass solo. The song also features something not heard clearly in the other songs, a choral arrangement. Around the three-minute mark, it launches back into the theme heard across the album, before returning to the choral arrangement heard at the start.
All in all, Karg is a much more varied album than the previous, but that doesn’t stop it being a good album with memorable riffs and an overall good sound. I’d recommend this album for fans of older Enslaved albums (Isa and Ruun mainly), and also for fans of black metal. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
Karg track listing:
- The Runes of Hel
- The Trickster
- Highland Rebellion
- Remnant of the Past
- The Heritage Throne
- Total Destruction (bonus track – Bathory cover)