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Vildhjarta - "Måsstaden" (CD)

Vildhjarta - "Måsstaden" CD cover image

"Måsstaden" track listing:

1. Shadow
2. Dagger
3. Eternal Golden Monk
4. Benblåst
5. Östpeppar
6. Traces
7. Phobon Nika
8. Måsstadens Nationalsång
9. When No One Walks With You
10. All These Feelings
11. Nojja
12. Deceit
13. The Lone Deranger

Reviewed by on January 10, 2012

"While not the most groundbreaking djent album that I've heard, 'Masstaden' is a good album from a new band that's more of a taste of what's to come, rather than a fully evolved sound."

“Masstaden,” the eagerly anticipated debut from newcomer Vildhjarta, looks to be remembered as an establishing moment in the development of djent. There’s still one problem though; for as good as the music is, Vildhjarta don't do much to step out of the shadow of their main inspiration, making comparisons to Meshuggah at times a bit too accurate. Despite Vidlhjarta's reluctance to be anything other than a doomier Meshuggah, “Masstaden” is still an excellent album full of awesome riffs that has managed to hold my attention until Meshuggah's new album hits in March.

Even though "Masstaden" was written to be one long song, there are a few stand-out tracks, in particular "When No One Walks With You" and "Eternal Golden Monk." Both are among the heaviest tracks on the album and, yet, both show off exactly how awesome the riffs are. That said, it's not such a major improvement over the rest of the album that it detracts from "Masstaden" as a whole, since everything simply feels complete. Whatever anyone's opinions of Vildhjarta are, nobody can deny that the band is composed of excellent musicians who have a terrific grasp of songwriting.

Despite my issues with “Masstaden,” it's still a good record, or more accurately, there are enough awesome riffs on here to ensure that listeners get their money's worth. “Masstaden” isn't groundbreaking by anyone's standards, but it's still well crafted. The tracks flow together well, creating the illusion of one long song, which is impressive given how long “Masstaden” is.

While not the most groundbreaking djent album that I've heard, “Masstaden” is a good album from a new band that's more of a taste of what's to come, rather than a fully evolved sound. The clean vocals on "Traces" are a promising sign and hopefully, with time, Vildhjarta will evolve into something much greater. They have the talent; it's now just whether or not they have the creativity.

Highs: Good songwriting, enough djent riffs on here to bridge the gap between Threat Signal and Meshuggah

Lows: Clean vocals not used often enough, mostly just sounds like a doomier Meshuggah

Bottom line: Vildhjarta's debut album is good, but lacking in identity.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)