Vera : Skálmöld sure is a unique band. That should be common knowledge by now. ‘Sorgir’ (‘Sorrows’) happens to be their fifth studio album and the six musicians hailing from Iceland are active at several levels. For instance, late August they have played their songs for the second time live with the Symphonic Orchestra of Reykjavik. Excerpts you can find on YouTube are really astonishing and breathtaking! But of course, Skálmöld remains above all an energetic Viking metal band, with a pinch of punk and a rebellious approach. Once again that is properly illustrated on ‘Sorgir’, an album one can divide in two parts. The first four songs each tell a story of bad luck, tragedy and death. The next four songs tell the same stories, but seen from another point of view.
Skálmöld’s charms lean heavily on the intensive contributions of every band member. Every album is an amalgamation of different kind of vocals (sturdy clean Viking choirs, deep grunts, a screaming individual in the background and the raucous main storyteller with Viking battle-like feel). These characteristics are also featured abundantly on ‘Sorgir’. Plus the tight, heavy guitars and now and then a fervent solo, just listen to the strong opener ‘Ljósið’ and the fetching, folky ‘Sverðið’. In despite of the language barrier, songs like the thrash-like ‘Brúnin’ and Barnið’ appear to be accessible and catchy and that is really an art on its own, since a lot of things happen in a song such as ‘Skotta’. ‘Gangári’ is extremely heavy, while ‘Móri’ has a beautiful mid-part with female vocals and oboe. One of the highlights is the occluding track ‘Mara’ with beautiful acoustic guitars, a thunderous eruption and sure-fire solos. Viking metal with a lot of authenticity it is, and Skálmöld did a great job again on this successor of the equally ravishing ’Vögguvisur Yggdrasils’ (2016)!