There are days when I’ve been out in the backyard roasting a whole goat over an open fire with my blade sleeping against a neighbouring boulder and, as flames lick the enchanting meat, I wonder why there isn’t any decent music to play in these situations. This happens more than you might think.
Enter King of Asgard and their …of North record.
The band formed in 2008 by guitarist and vocalist Karl Breckman, with drummer Karsten Larsson serving as the first addition. With a thirst for Norse mythology and bassist Jonas Albrektsson in the flock, the band took to recording their debut record in Sweden. Fi'mbulvintr was released in August of 2010 and the band understood a need for a second guitarist, throwing Lars Tängmark in the mix. The King was crowned.
…of North is King of Asgard’s second studio record. It cracks with all the power chords and trouncing drums you’d expect in Viking metal, but the roaring lower end is what really makes this goat-grilling music.
“We feel very proud of what we achieved on this recording and merely the sound of it makes it a worthy follow-up to the firstborn Fi'mbulvintr. Songs and sounds came out much as of what we planned, with power and a great variety,” says Albrektsson. “It's a development of our sound which will be recognized by old fans as well as bring some new ones to the horde.”
Right out of the bloodstained gateway, King of Asgard hits hard.
The album’s introduction features a call to combat, with a crushing power chord corresponding with a war bell. The tone presses onward, quaking into one hell of a riff to kick “The Nine Worlds Burn” into gear. The band swings into a spiralling set of riffs and noise, pummeling away until the field is stained red.
King of Asgard’s unremitting Viking battering continues all over …of North and seldom does the quartet come up for air. Tracks like “Gap of Ginnungs” and “Nordvegr” increase the strain, offering more thunder and lightning.
If there’s any trouble with Viking metal in general – and I wouldn’t say this to anyone’s hirsute face – it’s that it can get monotonous. While the power chording and glowering about Norse lore makes for some respectable songs, the category isn’t exactly renowned for diversity.
King of Asgard falls prey to the same doom in the end. Notwithstanding some good efforts, …of North isn’t anything Viking metals fans haven’t heard before. While it does offer the right potency for roasting a goat on an open flame, once the banquet is over this disc doesn’t provide much else to gnaw on.