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Galar - "Til Alle Heimsens Endar" (CD)

Galar - "Til Alle Heimsens Endar" CD cover image

"Til Alle Heimsens Endar" track listing:

1. Forspill
2. Ván
3. Paa frossen mark
4. Grámr
5. Det graa riket
6. Ingen siger vart vunnin
7. Til alle heimsens endar
8. Etterspill

Reviewed by on March 12, 2010

"...'Til Alle Heimsens Endar' is a skillfully played and, more importantly, beautifully composed album."

Taking its name straight from Norse mythology, Galar is yet another Viking metal band in the vein of Bathory and Enslaved. Wielding a high production quality and classical compositions, “Til Alle Heimsens Endar” is far from the typical Viking sound. Instead of hammering out mediocre black metal riffs with some bad synth added for effect, Galar has managed to create an album that takes all the best things about Viking metal and compose them into songs that range from very good to jaw-dropping.

The best thing about this album is the classical and folk elements incorporated into the music. This is something that we have all heard before, but Galar has honed their compositional skills to the point that I would nearly be fine with them taking the metal part out and leaving just the orchestral sections. Instead of adding these elements solely for atmosphere or effect, Galar weaves them into the music, making them sound incredibly natural and, in parts, considerably awe-inspiring. Combining this with powerful leads, black metal riffs, and epic clean vocals that are never tiring or overdone, this album is potent.

While songs like “Ván” and “Ingen Siger Vart Vunnin” provide for a more typical Viking sound, the instrumental songs, such as “Det Graa Riket,” “Forspill,” and “Etterspill,” are by far the album’s high points. Galar lets the classical elements flow and doesn’t restrict them by coming in with the metal too soon. Besides the classical elements, the leads played are very melodic and are just as emotion-packed as the string sections. Most of the vocals are typically high-pitched and raspy, but the interplay of the clean vocals (both male and female) and the rest of the music are never stale or overdone. The melodies demonstrated in these songs (as well as the non-instrumental songs) are moving and propel this album to something great.

Though some transitions between elements are somewhat choppy, this album is definitely one that doesn’t fall prey to sounding redundant or overblown. All of the folk elements are presented in a way that doesn’t make them cheesy (as this tends to happen in bands of this nature) and are consistent with the epic scale of the album. From musically narrating sprawling vistas to gloomy, rain-soaked despair, “Til Alle Heimsens Endar” is a skillfully played and, more importantly, beautifully composed album. Not for one second does it come across as trying to play to a scene. Galar obviously just wants to play emotionally driven, power-packed music that hearkens back to an ancient time. This album is indeed a worthy addition to any metal collection.

Highs: Thundering riffs melded beautifully with emotional riffs and moving classical melodies.

Lows: Some choppy transitions.

Bottom line: A tremendous addition to the crowded halls of Viking metal.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)