Black Messiah - First War Of The World
AFM Records
Viking/Folk Metal
13 songs (64:39)
Release year: 2009
Black Messiah, AFM Records
Reviewed by Khelek

Black Messiah is another band that I had never heard of, but after browsing a list of recently released Viking/Folk Metal albums, they sounded like an interesting band that got some great reviews, including one from this site. While not having the most original sound out there, the band can be somewhat hard to classify, though they fit in most with Viking and folk metal acts like Suidakra, Ensiferum, Catamenia, etc. with an occasional touch of black metal. The music here is obviously heavily influenced by early folk metal acts and it shows. While not the most unique album, First War Of The World definitely shows off the band's talent for creating catchy, memorable songs and good technical ability. Unfortunately the band loses some points mostly for their use of unnecessarily lengthy compositions and repetitive song structures.

I'm not big on the opening Prologue, which is just a spoken story being told about Norse mythology. It's somewhat interesting, but I find myself just wanting the music to begin. I would rather a band to keep the storytelling to the lyrics themselves, but that's just my personal preference. The Vanir Tribe kicks off the music with some typical, folky melody through a quick palm muted guitar lead and the soon pounding drums. This first song begins with an extended instrumental section that is very melodic, something I would expect from Ensiferum or possibly Eluveitie. They don't mess around with the vocals either, and frontman Zagan belts out some powerful growls that complement the music quite well. Not quite as intense as Arkadius Antonik from Suidakra, but still good. Gullveig comes in next, and this is a more epic track, at just over 8 minutes and has some strong folk elements. It turns out to be quite a catchy folk song for the verse, you can really see people headbanging to this stuff. However, some bigger, more symphonic guitar is used shortly afterwards to slow things down. I'm not sure I understand this strategy. It is definitely a long song that can get monotonous, and in my opinion does not need to be nearly this lengthy. I am sure it must be a fun song to do live. Von Rachsucht Und Luge uses some more impressive guitar work to get my attention. It's a good song, but seems to lack cohesion because of all the different sounding guitar elements. Epicly titled The Battle Of Asgaard is another longer song that makes heavy use of guitars and drums, but once again all the leads in the beginning feel disconnected, and don't flow into a cohesive whole for me. I'm also not big on the deep, almost spoken lyrics, which just sound silly to me. Burn Vanaheimr is a quicker song that has good energy and stays consistent the whole time. Plenty of fast, energetic riffing, the vocals are also quite good, though the echo sound ones are a bit annoying. This song actually makes me think of a mythological battle scene fought by gods. Das Unterpfand also starts out with a monolithic, epic sounding lead that only gets better with folk elements, the violins played by Zagan himself.

Overall I liked this album, but I wish the band would pick a solid direction and create some more really iconic sounding tracks. There are some solid tracks, but it's just not a consistent enough album to be really great. Also, its been done before. This is 2009, a band this experienced has to come up with something a little more original to catch my attention. These guys have been doing the music thing for some time so I have to hold them to a bit of a higher standard. There are a few really great songs, but too many fell away into the unknown after hearing them, mostly due to repetitiveness and the fact that some of the elements don’t really flow together well. I know Black Messiah have the talent to be a really memorable Viking metal act and I hope to hear more from them in the future. And for the record this is a band that I think would be immensely fun to see live.

Band's MySpace
Killing Songs :
The Vanir Tribe, Von Rachsucht Und Luge, Burn Vanaheim, Das Unterpfand
Khelek quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Black Messiah that we have reviewed:
Black Messiah - The Final Journey reviewed by Alex and quoted 81 / 100
Black Messiah - Of Myths And Legends reviewed by Ross and quoted 90 / 100
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