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Myrkvar - "Als Een Woeste Horde" (CD)

Myrkvar - "Als Een Woeste Horde" CD cover image

"Als Een Woeste Horde" track listing:

1. Stilte voor de Storm (2:05)
2. I Viking (7:10)
3. Trollisfarne (7:21)
4. Jagersmaan (7:32)
5. Den Ware Held (8:09)
6. Wolftijd (1:15)
7. Geboren uit Oorlogslendenen (6:01)
8. Krijgers van Walhalla (5:56)
9. Helreid Brynhilde (3:43)

Reviewed by on February 24, 2010

"While new fans of the genre might find this album interesting, 'Als Een Woeste Horde' really is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to folk metal."

Folk metal seems to be a genre that can go one of two ways: very cheesy or very epic. Sometimes bands, such as Finntroll and Turisas, even find a happy medium between the two. Myrkvar is a band that is definitely very similar to other folk metal bands in a lot of ways. From the raspy vocals and the folky string instruments to the occasional humppa influence, “Als Een Woeste Horde,” which means “As A Fierce Horde,” is an album that walks and talks like any other folk metal band. However, the album does not pull the sound off at all. With excessive chanting and very corny synth work, this album sounds more like something out of a bad role playing game.

Most of the guitar work consists of melodic riffing that isn’t terrible, but is definitely very basic. Some stray into memorable and even catchy territory, but because these riffs are so overused and so simplistic, they become quickly forgettable. The drums aren’t mixed nearly as well as they should be and the kick drum doesn’t have much of a kick; it mostly just rumbles. The string parts and acoustic guitar work are pretty well done. The majority of the synth is not well done at all and is pretty hokey. The band also throws in some samples of things like snorting pigs and clanking iron to apparently add a medieval grotto-esque atmosphere, but it doesn’t do much for the music.

In general, the music on this album is very lackluster and doesn’t have nearly as much power as it should. The folk elements (especially the chanting, which is ever present throughout) are beaten to death to the point where they are boring. If the band was going for an epic feel, they missed the mark entirely, as there is nothing epic about this album at all.

Overall, I would say this album has some interesting parts, but they are incredibly few and far between. The atmosphere this album invoked for me was more of a small town renaissance fair than ancient times. While new fans of the genre might find this album interesting, “Als Een Woeste Horde” really is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to folk metal.

Highs: Acoustic and string work is well done.

Lows: Repetitive, simplistic melodies make for a boring listening experience.

Bottom line: Myrkvar's first full length is incredibly lackluster and somewhat hollow.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 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)