King of Asgard - Fi'mbulvintr
Metal Blade
Melodic Death/Black/Viking Metal
13 songs (52:37)
Release year: 2010
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Vrechek
Surprise of the month

Oftentimes I listen to albums repeatedly because I have to; I need to get a fair perception of whatever I'm going to be reviewing, which rarely means hearing it once then forming a permanent opinion. Rarely do I find albums to review which I am compelled to keep listening to; albums that I don't simply need to hear over and over but want to. King of Asgard has crafted on such excellent album: Fi'mbulvintr. A recent band formed out of members of the excellent but sadly defunct Mithotyn, as well as the cult legend Dawn, King of Asgard has surprisingly been signed to Metal Blade Records who are normally host to fairly popular or well-known bands. Believe me though, they deserve all the attention they can get.

I discovered this album through a forum post recommending King of Asgard to fans of Amon Amarth. While I can see why one would be tempted to make comparisons in that vein, Fi'mbulvintr is not simply crunchy Melodeath with viking-inspired lyrics. No, this is more along the lines of true Black Metal descendent Viking Metal, and while a large bulk of riffs might sound vaguely Amon Amarth-ish, they often have a folk flavored twist to them or a tremolo-picked melody edging more towards Black than Death. This is especially evident on the triumphant The Last Journey, where Bathory influence is clearly on display. Another standout in the Folk/Viking department is Brethren of the North, which has an Ensiferum vibe about it that hearkens back to the galloping rhythms of Running Wild.

The rest of the tracks are pretty spiffy as well, from the rousing and sing-a-long-able opener Einharjar to the melodic yet groovy instrumental title track that closes the album. Vamods Tale and Never Will You Know My Name are probably the most comparable to Amon Amarth what with their hammering and bouncy rhythms, while the rest of the tracks tend to shake it up with occasional folky licks or some slow and deliberate swagger, albeit with the same solid Melodeath bedrockMETAL.

That's pretty much the overall impression I get from this album: Solid. Sure, it's not going to last forever: some of the songs wear down faster than others, some vocal parts can get downright obnoxious (Snake Tongue is starting to grate a bit in that department), and some of the stylistic segues seem more hammy with time, but by and large each song is crafted well enough and the album as a whole is monumental enough to ignore many of its faults. Yes, as good as the vocalist is I would've liked to hear more of the cleans that pop up very occasionally, but that's more an issue of personal preference. Yes, I would've liked more Black/Folk elements thrown in, but again that's personal preference. For what it is, Fi'mbulvintr is awesome.

Killing Songs :
Einharjar, The Last Journey, Brethren of the North
Vrechek quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by King of Asgard that we have reviewed:
King of Asgard - Karg reviewed by Jared and quoted 90 / 100
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