Manegarm - Nattvasen
Regain Records
Viking Pagan Metal
9 songs (45'06")
Release year: 2009
Manegarm, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

For a while now Manegarm (vampire-wolf) has been residing on my list of Viking/pagan/folk bands to check, yet I never could find the time to track any of their releases down. Meanwhile, the Swedes have been kicking it for over a decade now and are up to their sixth full-length with Nattvasen. As such, don’t ask me for references as to how Nattvasen compares to the Manegarm of the recent past, but on its own the album has made an extremely favorable impression on me from the first spin.

In a span of a few minutes the opener Mina Faders Hall went through clean Nordic choir, hardened blackened thrashing polka, growing further in intensity, the clean voice yielding to ravenhearted cackle. And that is how Nattvasen will live in my memory, absolutely and truly tribal, Nordic, distinctly authentic, yet at the same time passionate, forceful, with snappy quality musicianship, which, if not progressive, is absolutely convincing and varying throughout. Not brutal enough to qualify as death metal, a little too extreme for power metal, and way too structured and definite for blackened chaos, Manegarm on Nattvasen is pretty much a textbook definition of what a folk Viking metal should sound like.

Interestingly enough, Manegarm goes about achieving their genuine nature without being poppy, the Swedes seeking acceptance in the folk metal field with their attitude firmly and irreversibly hardened. Here is one band which plainly shows that folksy and simple does not necessarily mean cheesy. Racing gallops of Nattsjal, Dromsjal never slide into Korpiklaani lightheartedness or Ensiferum recent listener-friendliness, Manegarm’s style remaining all about profound masculinity. Even violin here sounds strong, playing the lead melody over rolling drums on I Den Svartaste Jord. Not immune to the bug of epicness this composition sways from colder blasting to ancient harp sounds. Vetrarmegin taking the black side of Manegarm as far as it is ever going to go, Erik Grawsio blasting away to the glorious riff, the better soulmates to Manegarm are Tyr with their folky quirkiness and sadly disbanded (or recently reformed?) Einherjer who themselves straddled the thin line being Viking and black for quite some time. In that light Manegarm can definitively combine the epic blackness of Vetrarmegin next to the sing-along shots of the title track and clean folk melody of the closing Delling.

Songs full with catchy memorable moments and confident performance by all members, Nattvasen is long on the replay value, and even though by the rules of these pages should not qualify as a Surprise, Manegarm being a respectable and established band, but they are a very pleasant surprise for me personally, making it all the more interesting for the search back into their discography which is most certainly to follow.

Killing Songs :
Mina Fäders Hall , Bergagasten, I den Svartaste Jord, Vetrarmegin, Nattväsen, Delling
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Manegarm that we have reviewed:
Manegarm - Legions of the North reviewed by Metalette and quoted 95 / 100
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