Rating:
8.1
King Of Asgard - Karg
18 July 2014


01. The Runes Of Hel
02. The Trickster
03. Highland Rebellion
04. Remnant Of The Past
05. Omma
06. The Heritage Throne
07. Huldran
08. Rising
09. Total Destruction [bonus]


When comparing to the mighty Amon Amarth, I always had the opinion that King Of Asgard were the better vikings. This got me rude comments even on sites and under videos of the latter mentioned, but I have my reasons. Both are great, yet over the years my interest drifted towards the darker and more authentic side of the genre, including legends like Helheim and newer bands like this one which releases their new album this year, entitled Karg.

Karg is a northern European word for barren, which describes the slightly modified style the band has changed to well. Including one bonus track, the album contains nine songs and runs for about fifty minutes. The listener (who I always imagine to sit down with a cold beer during the first listening, focusing solely on the music) awaits a very typical first song, which was somehow expected in that or a similar way. "The Runes Of Hel" works from the first riff on and catches every headbanger. Nevertheless, the rest of the album is somewhat different.

I'd like to the divide this record into two parts: The first five songs, which each have memorable moments to easily recollect afterwards and the last three (excluding the bonus track), that took me like three or four listens to have something stuck in the head. Most worthy to mention is the song "Highland Rebellion" from the first half, causing a huge earwig after listening just once to it. Still I entitle it my personal favourite one on Karg. When talking about special tracks, of course "Omma" must be mentioned as well. Sounding weird at first but one simply can't resist the catchy chants on it. Uh... after looking over this review again I must add that this very same sentence also applies to "Remnant Of The Past".

Let's talk about production and performance, there's some potential to discuss about. First, what the hell happened to the vocals? Introducing a rather sloppy and lisping style, the album's concept is very reflected here. It takes some time to get used to it, but at some point the variance is appreciated. Apart from that I really dig the band's performance, especially the guitar riffing is one of my favourites throughout the whole genre, the accentuation of each note is awesome. So is the guitar sound, better than ever with lots of punch in it, these guys have really figured it out. On a personal note, I don't like the bass sound too much though, but it's clear that its duty is to pull the overall tone back to the announced barren atmosphere.

What remains is an excellent first part of the album and a still good second part, of which only "Huldran" stands out. As replacement for an outro track, the Bathory cover in the 10th year of Quorthon's death is doing well. The best song awards go to "Highland Rebellion" and all the others of the first five tracks.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Band profile: King Of Asgard
Album: Karg


 



Written on 04.07.2014 by
Windrider
"The future is not guaranteed, all we have is today.
And Today, we have Metal." - Karl Sanders
More reviews by Windrider ››



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R'Vannith - 04.07.2014 at 18:14  
You'd have to be pretty Norse to out-viking THE vikings Amon Amarth. Must give this a listen.
Windrider - 04.07.2014 at 21:30  
Written by R'Vannith on 04.07.2014 at 18:14

You'd have to be pretty Norse to out-viking THE vikings Amon Amarth. Must give this a listen.

Don't get me wrong I like Amon Amarth, but I like my Viking themed stuff more authentic and less heroic, cinematic... The music is great, I just find it a little too easy-listening, dark tales need some edges, though it's just my personal opinion and didn't affect the rating here..
Redn1ght - 04.07.2014 at 23:58  
Northern European? What language is that? xD
Troy Killjoy - 05.07.2014 at 00:07  
Written by Redn1ght on 04.07.2014 at 23:58
Northern European? What language is that? xD

Scandinavian.
Windrider - 05.07.2014 at 00:08  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 05.07.2014 at 00:07

Written by Redn1ght on 04.07.2014 at 23:58
Northern European? What language is that? xD

Scandinavian.

And german, in that case.
Troy Killjoy - 05.07.2014 at 00:11  
Scandinavian isn't a language... I think you might have missed the joke there.
Redn1ght - 05.07.2014 at 00:19  
And German isn't Scandinavian. As far as I know There's Saami, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic for Scandinavian languages. I think I might be forgetting one... Americans don't comment you can't even find most countries on the map. ;-)
Troy Killjoy - 05.07.2014 at 00:22  
Written by Redn1ght on 05.07.2014 at 00:19
And German isn't Scandinavian. As far as I know There's Saami, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic for Scandinavian languages. I think I might be forgetting one... Americans don't comment you can't even find most countries on the map. ;-)

I think you're missing Danish... and whatever they speak on the Faroe Islands?

Although we should be talking about the album/review rather than geography and languages.
Redn1ght - 05.07.2014 at 00:47  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 05.07.2014 at 00:22

Written by Redn1ght on 05.07.2014 at 00:19
And German isn't Scandinavian. As far as I know There's Saami, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic for Scandinavian languages. I think I might be forgetting one... Americans don't comment you can't even find most countries on the map. ;-)

I think you're missing Danish... and whatever they speak on the Faroe Islands?

Although we should be talking about the album/review rather than geography and languages.

I know. xD Those were the ones I forgot.. Sorry but I'm a total nitpicker when it comes to this stuff. Heh. And I'll pick up this album next with the To North one when I get a chance. xD Still missing that one from my collection.
AngelofDeth - 05.07.2014 at 06:21  
Written by Windrider on 04.07.2014 at 21:30

but I like my Viking themed stuff more authentic and less heroic, cinematic... The music is great, I just find it a little too easy-listening, dark tales need some edges, though it's just my personal opinion and didn't affect the rating here..

They seem very similar lyrically to Amon(They even have a song called 'Heroes Brigade' and Amon also has some very dark lyrics, specially on Versus)..

I understand you may like more blackened or raw music but how exactly does that make them more authentically viking than Amon Amarth? After all, the instrumentation of either band isn't very authentic considering Vikings didn't play electric guitars, so who's to say one is more authentic than the other?
b0sse - 05.07.2014 at 07:22  
Oh man, I loved their previous 2 albums.
Hoping this is as good as those.
Windrider - 05.07.2014 at 10:31  
Written by AngelofDeth on 05.07.2014 at 06:21

They seem very similar lyrically to Amon(They even have a song called 'Heroes Brigade' and Amon also has some very dark lyrics, specially on Versus)..

I understand you may like more blackened or raw music but how exactly does that make them more authentically viking than Amon Amarth? After all, the instrumentation of either band isn't very authentic considering Vikings didn't play electric guitars, so who's to say one is more authentic than the other?

Haha yeah I know that no one had electric guitars back then What I mean with authenticity is the lyrics, Amon mostly tell of battles in real and mythological worlds. But as much as we all liked to believe, the Vikings weren't only warriors that headed from one battle to another, they were a very cultural people and had quite normal, yet also interesting lives back home. And this is imo better reflected in KoA's lyrics, which are based on old local tales from the region the band members come from.

The dark- or grimness is a seperated point and simply means that when Johan screams his lyrics of death and destruction, I wish for some more dissonances or other edgy stuff, it's sometimes awkward when I hear sth like "They are all dead, there's blood everywhere..." next to harmonic and easy-going riffs.
They make great music (I also like to play their stuff) and have great lyrics, but I see them more as storybook-vikings than historical. And that's btw also what they think of themselves
Mugthulhu - 06.07.2014 at 12:15  
I have never understood why Amon Amarth is so highly regarded as viking metal. Their lyrics are viking themed, but the music itself hasn't got a single shred of nordic/viking atmosphere to it. It's just generic melodeath.
Not saying Amon Amarth is a bad band, I like them. I haven't listened to Kings of Asgard yet so I don't know what they sound like, but from what I've gathered from the review and comments on here, this seems like authentic viking black metal, and I think it's a bit weird to compare such a band to a melodeath band, even if their lyrics are viking themed.

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