Release date: June 6, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The story behind this album is a rather cool one. The intention behind it was nothing short of “celebrating a phase in history that changes our lands forever” (quoting from the promo sheet). The band/project, rooted partly in Norway, partly in Italy, consists of four “pagan spirits” –- Vali, Gungnir (both originally from Doomsword), Fenrir, and Nidhoggr (the times have obviously changed since the years when rock musicians where called Keith Richards and Angus Young …). Musically, the inspiration comes from bands like Amon Amarth, Enslaved, and Doomsword, but more than anything else from Bathory and Falkenbach. The spirit of the late Quorthon is everywhere on this album, and for those into Bathory-style atmosphere and groove, this is definitely an album to check out. Primordial and Opeth are bands which could be added to the aforementioned list –- the lengthy, epic compositions of Gjallarhorn can definitely be reminiscent of those bands.

This should make for some quite powerful music, and such is also the case. After a short intro, the 9-minute epic “The Day Odin Stood Still” (dig that title!) kicks off, and what a composition this is. All those who dare listen to it will be beaten to the ground by its majesty and might –- the almost Emperor-sounding guitars, the groove, the Quorthon-style soulful vocals, and the huge Viking choirs makes for an awesome song –- or is song the right word –- and this pretty much sets the standard for the rest of the album. “Ragnarok” and the closing epic “200 Years of Fury” are other highlights, and except for some more anonymous parts in “RAGNAROK” (yes, “Ragnarok” and “RAGNAROK” are two different songs) and “Blood Over Åsgård,” this is an incredibly enchanting journey through a very important phase of the history of both Norway and Europe.

This style of music is not about technical ability at all, and the musicianship is solid enough to make things groove and to bring forth the majesty of the songs. The production too adds to this as it is clear enough to make all instruments be heard but still sound dirty and lo-fi enough to take care of the soul in the music.

This will never be an album for the masses, but every Metalhead with even the faintest interest in the Viking era should check this out. A unique, enchanting platter indeed.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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