Manegarm - Legions of the North
Napalm Records
Pagan Metal / Black Metal / Viking Metal
12 songs (51:01)
Release year: 2013
Manegarm, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Metalette
Album of the month

This album is an experience. Listen to it in order, in its entirety (though don’t worry, MP3 shoppers; there are plenty of songs that pack a punch by themselves too). It’s got an epic intro track, “Arise”, which will really get you in the zone with lonely wind and crow noises, and a marching army sound towards the end that actually gives me chills. The rest of the album spans a wide variety of feels, from folksy and archaic to evil-as-hell. Included are two very brief but delicious instrumentals, Helvegr and Vigverk, the latter of which I desperately want as my ringtone. And then to wrap it all up with a haunting pagan feel is Raadh, consisting of serene acoustic instruments and a gorgeous male/female duet. Altogether, this is why I say the first time you hear this album, listen to it exactly as it is and I swear you won’t regret it.

There’s a lot going on in these tracks, with a wonderful variety of instruments and both clean and growling vocals. The growling vocals are heavy and hoarse, ranging from pretty deep to nice, high howls. They’re great. But much more unique are the clean vocals. They’re featured in most of the choruses – which are extremely catchy, by the way – and lend an unexpected feel. I daresay they bring a touch of rock’n’roll to the party and make the songs totally sing-along-able. The clean vocals give the album a sharper edge and an inimitable sound. Also, there are some rad high-notes hit, like in the chorus of Sons of War, that are chill-worthy. There’s a lot of stuff on this album that’s chill-worthy, let me tell ya.

One of my favorite songs on the album is Echoes From the Past. It’s the longest track at 6:52, which gives it a lot of room for complexity. The beginning guitar riff has a pure metal feel to it, the verse is rather pagan-y, and there’s a folksy bit after the chorus. The middle of the song contains an acoustic instrumental section that’s very soothing and brings in a fiddle and rich female vocals. The chorus is driving and satisfyingly heavy. Overall, it’s a rather noble song and is wonderfully multi-faceted.

Another song I love is Fallen, which actually follows right after. Its main riff is pretty upbeat and drink-worthy, and is righteous when combined with blast beats. The verse is headbangable and adventuresome, with more of the great folksy riffs underneath the vocals. This song also includes one of the catchiest choruses on the entire album, superbly showcasing the clean vocals.

There isn’t a single wasted song or a dull moment in all of Legions of the North. It’s a fine piece of work from Månegarm; an overload of grand melodies, distinctive vocals, and rousing heaviness. Plus plenty of rustic violin, which is right up my alley. It’s a keeper of an album and easily one of the greatest this year. It gets better every time I listen to it - and that's saying a lot, because I loved it from the first go!

Killing Songs :
Eternity Awaits, Hordes of Hel, Sons of War, Echoes From the Past, Fallen
Metalette quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Manegarm that we have reviewed:
Manegarm - Nattvasen reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
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