Sunday, March 02, 2008

By The Hammer Of Thor

Today's post is on the Netherlands symphonic goth metallers Mjolnir. I picked this album up simply because the cover was deliciously cheesy. I mean a scantily clad lady on a flying unicorn, who can pass that up?!? Mind you, I gave it a listen before I purchased it because c'mon, a scantily clad lady on a flying unicorn?!? Who knows what kind of music they'd be playing.

What I heard was completely different than what I was expecting. I thought it'd be getting standard female fronted symphonic power metal. Especially with the bands uber glamour shot in the album jacket. What I got was symphonic gothic doom touching on black and death metal. I hadn't been this thrown since I first heard Battlelore's first album.

keyboards before kicking the album off with a The album begins with "Mysteria" which sets a dark and sombre mood mixing rain and thunder sounds with keyboards that build atmosphere. The title track leads in with a gothic doomy riff and I was hooked in when, after the gothy female vocals, came some death metal growls adding a darker brutal sound.

"Dragon Sword" and "A Wasted Journey" stick more to the gothic sound. "Dragon Sword" is the first song to pick up the pace and really use death metal vocals. "A Wasted Journey" is more keyboard heavy, but is haunting and dark using a nice blend of female and death vocals.

"Falling Into Decay" opens with a crunchy riff and is probably the fastest song here with borderline black metal riffing. "Lost" opens black metally and turns into symphonic death metal. A brutal tune.

My favourite tracks are the doomy death metal ones like "My Sweltering Black Eyes Of Innocence" which uses the style effectively, yet the gothic elements create an uplifting feeling towards the end. The best track is "Times Before The Past" whose doomy bass and bell intro is brooding and dark and builds through an airy Renaissance-like bridge into a crescendo of death, black and female vocal harmonies.

Mjolnir blend styles very well and although I find the guitars not as prominent as I like, they do feel raw and gritty. The atmospheres created here are brooding and bleak and consistent throughout the album. They even successfully use narrative vocals without being terribly cheesy.

There is an airy keyboard instrumental hidden track about 10 minutes after the last track which is nice. I don't think Mjolnir are still together and "Whispering Sorcery" is their only full length release. If you like gothic metal with a little twist and memorable atmosphere, this is a pretty good album.

Up next is a review of Magic Kingdom's "Metallic Tragedy".


Blogger Rhodeislandrock said...

I'm a sucker for female fronted Metal so I will have to check Mjolnir out. Plus, you need to have that cover in any collection!

Heavy Metal Addiction

10:37 AM  
Blogger Hitomy said...

That really is interesting! I'll try to have that album, even though it doesn't seem to be an easy task. One last thing: I wonder where did the idea of unicorn come into existence, it is practically in every belief...

10:33 AM  

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