Brothers of Metal - Emblas Saga
AFM Records
Heavy / Power metal
13 songs (55' 6")
Release year: 2020
AFM Records
Reviewed by Andy

Even the most die-hard Manowar listener might balk at a band named Brothers of Metal, which is a Viking-themed heavy metal band featuring a virtual army of eight musicians. Though there are a few bright spots in Emblas Saga, their sophomore LP, it's bad enough that at times I was wondering if this was supposed to be ironic. I am never great at deciphering that sort of thing, so I'll leave it to others to decide. One thing is for sure, though: This album's more cringeworthy than watching a TikTok video of your mother dancing the macarena.

The first question that might occur to the listener is why so many people were needed. Two of the guys in this band do nothing but provide generic raspy vocals that owe a little to Udo Dirkschneider and probably the rest to Alestorm. Most of the singing is done by leading lady Yiva Eriksson, who has a rather good voice. She's not given a lot of technically demanding material, and any chance she would have to make a song her own gets buried almost instantly in a stinky pile of cheese from the unsubtle pair she's partnered with, but she is probably the most solid part of the lineup and would be capable of greatness if handed the right songs. She proves that on the best tracks, Kaunaz Dagaz and To the Skies and Beyond, where her backup vocalists are less intrusive and the lyrics less cornball than usual, and she gets some breathing room.

The frustrating part is that every once in a while, the melody on one of the tracks takes a turn in which the listener thinks that the foolery is over and the track will start getting better -- which is then followed by more tedious gang shouts and over-the-top lyrics. Considering that the band has three guitarists, one would think that the instrumental portions could at least be interesting, but the riffing turns out to be pretty much on the order of Ensiferum-influenced Viking bands: A little power metal, a little folk, some keyboard on top to add in some atmosphere, lots of crunching to make things heavier. It's not dreadful, just not terribly inspiring; we've heard it before and better from others. The best one can say about the extra guitars is that they don't get in the way as much as the superfluous vocalists.

Quantity is definitely favored over quality here, and that seems to be the ethos of Brothers of Metal: Lots of what absolutely no one wants, obscuring anything that might be pretty good on its own. Those who would like the sound they're aiming for, done right, should try listening to Italy's Frozen Crown instead. Emblas Saga isn't total crap, but it is very close.

Killing Songs :
None I'd call "killing"
Andy quoted 55 / 100
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