Sunday, November 26, 2006

They Stepped Ashore With The Thirst For Gold ...

Before Falconer, Songwriter and Guitarist Stefan Weinerhall with drummer Karsten Larsson were bandmates of Mithotyn. Stefan ( a founding member) created some fine Viking/folk metal over a period of about 7 years before creating the highly underrated folk metal band Falconer. The music is black metal with folk melodies and viking choruses. The album I'll be exploring today is their first full length release "In The Sign Of The Raven".

On this first outing, I'll admit not their best work, shows signs of well thought out songwriting and melodic metal with a strong sense of Viking appeal. Ground isn't being broken here, but Mithotyn certainly rank high in the Viking/folk metal genre. The vocals (Rickard Martinnson) are traditional black metal screech, though more airy and atmospheric along the lines of Summoning and sometimes hard to pick out from the music.

The album begins with one of my favourite tracks "Upon Raging Waves" which starts with wave sounds and a sweet acoustic intro and moves into a rhythmic melodic folky metal tune. Quite catchy. We are then blasted with the title track "In The Sign Of The Raven" with its bullet like drum work and fast riffing. "Shadows Of The Past" and "Embraced By Frost" are both speedy melodic folk inspired tunes with the later taking on some death metal stylings. "In The Forest Of Moonlight" is fast also with very nice solo guitar work and very traditional sound, only metal and "Freezing Storms Of Snow" is a full on blizzard of music, both aggressive and melodic.

The traditional folk heavy songs are "Tills Dagen Gryr" and the album closer "Let Thy Ale Swing". "Tills ..." is traditional with clean baritone vocals and keyboard and simple drum accompaniment. "Stories Carved In Stone" and "Where My Spirit Forever Shall Be" are folk heavy mid paced black metal tunes with "Stones ..." having death metal tendencies and "Where My Spirit ... " with its orchestral opening carries a majestic power metal feel.

Though I like this album a lot, and they only get better on future releases, the song that I repeat listen to is "Lost In The Mist". The song is an acoustic traditional tune which eventually mixes with electric guitars and creates a fine folk metal mix. The song is instrumental barring some viking style choral work, but it is ridiculously catchy.

The copies of Mithotyn albums I got are re-releases with different covers (I'd much prefer the originals, but what can you do?) but I find the production quality here to not be at its best. The music is great, but the vocals could be mixed better. A minor critique. Mithotyn are fantastic and feature strong songwriting and melodic, catchy black metal style music. The expert crafting is carried over to Falconer (which will be reviewed at a later date). However, before I get to some Christian folk metal, I'm going to slip in a review of a pagan/folk metal band Ragnarok (UK) who I almost forgot about, but cannot be missed. They are truly unique ...

2 Comments:

Blogger anonymous jones said...

You know, I reckon metal bands put the most effort into getting really nice artwork on their album covers. Graphic artists must love metal bands! I guess it's because metal bands don't photograph as well as boy bands. Hang on, they ARE boy bands.. THEY ARE!!
And that is probably as popular a statement as telling a boy that his 'action figures' are dolls..

6:07 PM  
Blogger Chana said...

i agree with Jones there..they do always seem to have the best of covers..

these ones on the post are beautiful..

hope all is well.

10:05 PM  

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