Rating:
7.9
King Of Asgard - ...To North
31 July 2012


01. Intro
02. The Nine Worlds Burn
03. The Dispossessed
04. Gap Of Ginnungs
05. Bound To Reunite
06. Nordvegr
07. Up On The Mountain
08. Plague-ridden Rebirth
09. Harvest (The End)
10. ...to North
11. Vinterskugge [digi-CD bonus]


When a band does something that feels kind of overdone, yet does it slightly better than many - is that good or bad? King Of Asgard play basically what you would expect from a band with that name; viking-themed melodeath a la Amon Amarth or Unleashed.

Actually, it's sort of an ambiguous blend between melo-death and melo-black. It seems the further you get into the album, the more separated these aspects appear. There's the chunky, mid-paced riff work alluding to Amon Amarth mixed in with some more dynamic fuzzed-out black metal tones that certainly must be a healthy dose of some Bathory and Enslaved love. The wonderful part of this whole thing is that they do frequently add other varying elements like clean vocals, synths, acoustic bits, female opera type singing and what have you, but these awesome riffs always come first. Why? Because there's plenty of them! Making ...To North a keen display of solidity meets variety.

On the other hand, ...To North has a distinct "standing on the shoulders of giants" feel to it. Yes, the album is solid through and through, but it really feels like King Of Asgard are just improving on other people's work. This will probably come as a nice treat to those who love this particular corner of melodeath, but have just listened to With Oden On Our Side a dozen too many times. To those who are only casually into the genre, it might have an over powering stink of "been there, heard that".


Band profile: King Of Asgard
Album: ...To North


 



Written on 19.07.2012 by
Doc Godin
Former EIC. Now just a reviewer guy.
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Susan - 19.07.2012 at 08:37  
When a band does something that feels kind of overdone, yet does it slightly better than many - is that good or bad?

Hmm... good question! I'm going to say it's a good thing. Usually once stuff is overdone that's saying something about the genre as a whole. When a band comes along and pumps some energy into a tiring genre then good for them.

Usually.

I was just thinking today that I hadn't heard any good viking metal yet this year. And while this sounds more like melodeath than folk/viking, I think I'll take it in the meantime.
Windrider - 19.07.2012 at 13:40  
Hmm... I was stunned by their first release, was the best album of 2010 for me and the new song with video yet sounds as awesome as their debut album.

Well maybe I am so in favour of them because I usually dwell in this "particular corner of melodeath."

Still got high expectations.
maged918 - 19.07.2012 at 15:00  
First time to hear about this band, and this could probably exactly what I need.. Another album in the vein of With Oden on Our Side, yet with a more black metal edge. Excited about this release now!
Draugen - 19.07.2012 at 15:39  
Viking style of melo death/black is something I rarely listen to but this particular album has interested me based on what I've heard so far.
AngelofDeth - 19.07.2012 at 21:15  
Written by Susan on 19.07.2012 at 08:37

When a band does something that feels kind of overdone, yet does it slightly better than many - is that good or bad?

Hmm... good question! I'm going to say it's a good thing. Usually once stuff is overdone that's saying something about the genre as a whole. When a band comes along and pumps some energy into a tiring genre then good for them.

Usually.

I was just thinking today that I hadn't heard any good viking metal yet this year. And while this sounds more like melodeath than folk/viking, I think I'll take it in the meantime.

i dont know if I can agree with that... its better to have a band come in and bring a completely fresh take on the genre rather than try to pump steroids into the same tired sound and see how long it lasts..

At the moment it seems the whole melo-death/ folk/viking thing is failing right now... there are countless carbon-copy bands bogging the scene and most the big bands are following suite and producing nothing but their typical sound just recomposited.

The only Folk-style album im looking forward to this year is Wintersuns Time, but there more Extreme Powerish and only slightly overlap style with a band like Asgard. So theres not much hope for this genre I think..
BitterCOld - 19.07.2012 at 22:29  
Enslaved love? especially in the cover art.

RavenKing - 20.07.2012 at 00:49  
I haven't heard this new album yet, so my comment is based on the first album and only a few songs from the new album.

Imo, what these guys do is Viking Metal the way it should be done. They continue where Mithotyn left. And they're better at keeping it metal than the usual melodeath band. Like the review says, guitar riffs are taking an important place, something you can't say about lots of Viking Metal bands.
Also, drums are more extreme, more aggressive than in a band like, let's say, Amon Amarth.
Another thing is production is not especially raw but not overpolished, like your average melodeath band.

This band has nothing radio-friendly or targeted at the mainstream. I'm really not a fan of Pagan/Folk/Viking Metal but I really like this band's first album. The main difference between this band and the average Viking Metal band, Imo, is that they lean towards Black Metal, instead of leaning towards Powermetal.

Also, this claim that they are "just improving on other people's work" is wrong because this band features Karl Beckmann and Karsten Larsson, who made Viking Metal in Mithotyn even before Amon Amarth released their first album.
Windir - 26.07.2012 at 19:38  
There are some Amon Amartish riffs here and there but I think it's just a coincidence (and if not wtf, we ALL have influences), in fact King Of Asgard sounds more like Mithotyn, and I'm not saying that because two members of KOA were there... go check (listen) In the Sign of the Ravens, King of the Distant Forest and Gathered Around the Oaken Table, it's more than obvious.
So I would say they sound like a better Mithoyn, with a better production, a better sound, better songwriting, etc. (they already have a place in my collection )
Windir - 26.07.2012 at 19:45  
Quote:
Also, this claim that they are "just improving on other people's work" is wrong because this band features Karl Beckmann and Karsten Larsson, who made Viking Metal in Mithotyn even before Amon Amarth released their first album.

Absolutely right!
caimanjosh - 23.09.2014 at 18:04  
Agreed, people are often comparing King of Asgard to Amon Amarth, but they sound quite a bit more like Mithotyn (particularly In the Sign of the Ravens, IMHO). Since 2 of the former bandmembers from Mithotyn are in this band, it only makes sense!

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