King Of Asgard - :Taudr: album review
Sweden’s melodic blackhearts begin a bold new chapter
Parting ways with a label as prestigious as Metal Blade could easily have hurled a spear into King Of Asgard’s whirring spokes, but the Swedes’ first effort for Trollmusic could hardly be more strident or definitive. Still firmly in Viking metal territory, but with plenty of blackened bile underpinning the windswept barrage,: taudr: sounds simultaneously huge and grittily naturalistic. Ironically, there’s great textural warmth in the wall of guitars that drives The Curse And The Wanderer majestically along, even if an underlying sense of spiritual windchill precludes the listener from ever feeling particularly cosy. The strength of the band’s songwriting reaches a new zenith on the spectacular Death… And A New Sun, wherein the sky-hailing grandeur of Hammerheart-era Bathory is deftly harnessed and moulded into something thrillingly unfamiliar, with at least two colossal melodic hooks thrown in for good measure. Masters of the mid-tempo march, King Of Asgard apply ingenious tactics to ageless tropes, injecting tension into the title track’s cyclical internal crescendos and exhibiting a refined grasp of dynamics throughout. A solid victory.