Rebellion - Sagas Of Iceland (The History Of The Vikings Vol. 1)
Massacre Records
Epic True Metal
13 songs (64'05)
Release year: 2005
Rebellion, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Marty
Rebellion is back with another chapter in their epic story-telling metal. The band's debut Shakespeare's Macbeth (A Tragedy In Steel) was a fine effort that relived the classic story of Macbeth with an epic true metal style. Opting for a more straight ahead and less complicated approach with their second album, Rebellion's sophomore effort Born A Rebel was noticeably missing the epic, grandiose style of their first album and was somewhat of a disappointment. Realizing that their strengths lie in the epic concept metal genre, guitarist Uwe Lulis (ex-Grave Digger) and company have embarked on their most ambitious journey to date; a three-part saga depicting the history of the viking era. Sagas Of Iceland (The History Of The Vikings Volume 1) is the first of the set and tells the story of such Viking legends as the Norwegian king Harald Harfager, Eric The Red, Ragnar Lodenhose and such legendary Danish kings as Sven Gabelhart and Canute The Great both of whom also ruled over England during their lifetime. Complete with epic storytelling lyrics as well as extensive liner notes in both German and English, this is a real over-the-top Viking saga. Unlike their debut Shakespeare's Macbeth (A Tragedy In Steel), the narration is kept to a minimum but the thick muscular traditional German metal style is back and as good as ever. Top it off with the gruff, shouting vocal style of Michael Seifert and you have the perfect recipe for the journey into Asgard.

The pounding heavy true metal style of Rebellion will be sure to please fans of such classic traditional metal bands as Grave Digger, Manowar, Running Wild, Accept and Saxon. After the obligatory tasteful acoustic guitar opener, Ynglinga Saga - To Odin We Call blasts into gear with a mix of light acoustic passages and pounding, hypnotic riffing. Complete with catchy "gang" style choruses, this one gets the added boost of some excellent dramatic lead guitar work mid track over a quiet and serene instrumental segment. The storytelling lyrics shouted out in true Viking fashion complete with the thick heavy metal sound sets the tone for the whole album and really draws you into the lore of the Viking era. Double bass infused power metal graces tracks like The Sons Of The Dragonslayer - Blood Eagle, Ragnhild's Dream, Blood Rains and Ruling The Waves with it's epic choruses, amazing dramatic feel and solid lead guitar work. Charging and galloping power metal makes appearances on tracks like Eric The Red and the epic Harald Harfager, a track that features both female and male narration sandwiched between some great power metal riffing. Other tracks employ mixes of quieter and heavier segments to break up the flow and add lots of dynamics to the overall tone of the album, adding elements of Iron Maiden and older Queensryche to the Rebellion sound. The album starts off very, very strong for the first 5 or 6 tracks but seems to lull midway for several tracks before picking up steam again through to the ending track Harald Hadrade, a pounding heavy and catchy epic.

It really takes many listens to this album to get into it. The riffs are solid and meaty throughout and they will catch your attention right away but the vocal style, although very essential to making an epic Viking concept album work, takes a little getting used to. Grave Digger fans will no doubt like this type of album right away. The lyrics are actually quite easy to follow and by listening closely, you really get quite the education in Viking history and folklore (and yes....Odin and Valhalla are mentioned in almost every song!!) Combined with the melodic yet aggressive choruses to the songs, you get the feeling of "authenticity" and if in fact the characters from the sagas were still around today, musically, this would be exactly how they would want the story of their lives to be told. Many other bands have touched on the Viking sagas before with many opting for a more folk-like metal style. With the brutality and epic battles of the era, this depiction with it's powerful true heavy metal style seems to work the best for me anyway. Part 2 (due in 2006) is to deal with the legends of the Swedish and Russian Vikings whereas Part 3 will be a total lesson in the Viking gods and the mythology that goes along with it. Very similar to the classic Grave Digger style, this album is much better than their latest offering The Last Supper. Although not really a masterpiece as far as being innovative or groundbreaking, there's lots to like with Sagas Of Iceland (The History Of The Vikings Volume 1) especially if you like fist-pumping epic true heavy metal with the cheese layered on extra thick!! At least with an album like this, you know exactly what you're getting and with no surprises.

Killing Songs :
Ynglinga Saga - To Odin We Call, The Sons Of The Dragonslayer - Blood Eagle, Ragnhild's Dream,Eric The Red, Ruling The Waves and Harald Hadrade
Marty quoted 78 / 100
Ken quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Rebellion that we have reviewed:
Rebellion - Arise: From Ginnungagap To Ragnarok - History of the Vikings, Vol. III reviewed by Thomas and quoted 91 / 100
Rebellion - The Clans are Marching EP reviewed by Thomas and quoted no quote
Rebellion - Miklagard (The History Of The Vikings Vol. 2) reviewed by Chris and quoted 94 / 100
Rebellion - Born A Rebel reviewed by Mike and quoted 71 / 100
Rebellion - Shakespeare's Macbeth - A Tragedy In Steel reviewed by Mike and quoted 85 / 100
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