Skálmöld - Börn Loka review
|Release date:||October 2012|
Skálmöld released their second album, Börn Loka, last year as the follow up to Baldur, their first release, but it's not a sequel. On this album they find themselves experimenting with the more darker and heavier sides of metal. I can't say that I didn't expect them to try this (knowing the Icelandic scene).
So on this album we are introduced to Hilmar Baldursson and his little sister, which Hilmar subsequently sacrifices to become Einherji (Einherjar are the elites of Odin's Ragnarök army forming the front line). Here you can hear a much darker atmosphere, which fits perfectly with the setting and the story being told in the lyrics. For me this is a slightly stronger album, and Snæbjörn (bassist/lyricist) has outdone himself here - these lyrics are even better than the ones on their first album. Sadly, those who don't understand the lyrics and just listen to the music won't find that many treats for the ear here; the lyrics are just as (or even more) important than the music.
The opener is probably best explained in the way that Hilmar sees Odin, and it's obviously a grand experience. Then the album really begins as Odin challenges Hilmar to face Loki's children and defeat them (not necessarily killing them) with the alluring promise of becoming Einherji, but warns him there's something he has to sacrifice, and the story begins. Hilmar goes out of his way in search for Loki's children and forgetting his sister in the meantime. He succeeds in his quest, but when he faces an unexpected foe in Loki, who reveals that he had disguised himself as Odin the whole time, Hilmar gets an even more shocking discovery. Loki explains to him that in his blind quest of fulfilling Odin's wishes in the hopes of becoming Einherji, he has allowed Loki to make a deal with Odin to enslave his sister to the Jotuns as his sacrifice to become an Einherji, but as a punishment for that, Hilmar shall become Loki's thrall. In the end Odin forces his "reward" upon the now unwilling but powerless Hilmar, and he becomes Einherji with a sour taste in his mouth. As I said, Snæbjörn really outdid himself on this album the lyrics are just pure candy.
Many who loved their first release probably wont like this album as much, since there really isn't that much of musical treats for the ear as on their first release; the lyrics are key to this album. Those into weird mixes of genres will find this an interesting if not slightly enjoyable listen.
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