SIG:AR:TYR - Godsaga
Morbid Winter Records
Dark Ambient/Acoustic/Folk Metal
9 songs (56:09)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Vrechek

Folk Metal is an interesting sub-genre of Heavy Metal, if not for its polarizing nature then for its wide range of interpretations. There's happier, bouncier stuff such as Korpiklaani and Turisas, epic and proud Black Metal-tinted bands such as Månegarm and Moonsorrow, whatever Finntroll is, and all other sorts in between. Ensiferum is different from Kampfar which is different from Storm etc. etc. Despite this, quite a few Metal listeners have nothing but spite for Folk Metal, stereotyping all of it as fluff, when it is actually more varied than possibly any other sub-genre. As far as uniqueness goes, SIG:AR:TYR is not a bad example of how diverse Folk Metal can be.

For those who haven't heard of this solo project, SIG:AR:TYR is a cross between acoustic folk music, dark ambient, and a healthy dose of Heavy Metal guitars and drum work. The first half of mastermind Daemonskald's career was very much acoustic-centric, with very little electric guitar coming into play (the demo was entirely acoustic and ambient). However, on 2008's Beyond the North Winds, more and more Metal influence began to creep into the band's sound. Godsaga is the next logical step, upping the Metal to even greater extremes, occasionally touching the realms of Black Metal on a few riffs. The vocals also got a leg-up into the Metal world by being mostly a harsh rasp.

However, I must say that of all of SIG:AR:TYR's albums, this may be the hardest for me to review. I desperately wanted to love this album. It has all the elements to be Daemonskald's masterwork: the culmination of nearly a decade of honing his very own, entirely unique brand of music to a fine point. I just can not in good conscious give this album the praise it likely deserves. Perhaps if I had fresh ears and hadn't spun the previous albums so many times I would be falling all over this. But I must admit that this band is starting to lose its appeal for me. All the riffs both distorted and acoustic are starting to blend together into one big mass of slow-to-mid-paced plodding, the drum work is sounding trite and lazy, and the vocals seem like nigh-on whisper-screaming.

Don't let my tiredness of this band discourage you from looking into this release, however! Since it is not very well-known, this might be your first contact with this band, so I urge you to give it a listen. For one, it is epic as all hell. I mentioned that the pace is a little slow, but it suits the music perfectly. From the thick distortion and beautiful collection of notes to the tribal and sometimes warlike drums, this album is quite the spectacle to behold. When the riffs approach Black Metal territory, you can hear Daemonskald either consciously or unconsciously channeling Primordial's later works into anthems of sorrowful pride. Godsaga's best moments, in my opinion, are when the ethereal, melodic Black Metal riffs swirl together and serenely connect notes in a lofty, godlike manner. Though these moments are rare, they do push the album over the edge to a higher status. When in the correct mood to enjoy this album to its fullest, you can hear echoes of sub-genre greats like the aforementioned Primordial and the immortal Bathory and Windir.

So what is the bottom line? For me, this might be the last SIG:AR:TYR album I can enjoy to its fullest extent. Unless Daemonskald starts to inject quite a bit more variety in style and pacing, the next time he releases new material I might not look so favorably upon it. If, however, this is your first contact with the band, I wholeheartedly recommend Godsaga to fans of Black/Folk/Viking Metal. This album might not ascend to the level the genre's masters, but it will likely entertain you quite a bit. My quote is 75 for people who have heard previous material by the band, but everyone else should feel free to add 10 points to that for a more accurate representation.

Killing Songs :
All of them or none of them depending on your perspective
Vrechek quoted 75 / 100
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