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SIG:AR:TYR - Citadel Of Stars review




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Band: SIG:AR:TYR
Album: Citadel Of Stars
Style: Blackened folk metal
Release date: May 2024


01. Awaiting The Last Dawn
02. Beyond The Stars Unknown
03. The Blood That Came Before You
04. Citadel Of Stars
05. Ascending The Stellar Throne
06. I Sail On, Eternal
07. Who Will Guide Me Now
08. From The Land Of The North
09. Where The Sun Never Sets

Maybe the most important element of Viking metal is indeed the guitar solo.

I want you to stop whatever meaningless nonsense you're doing right now and relisten to Bathory's "One Rode To Asa Bay". It might be a bit of an obvious choice, but I consider this the peak of Viking metal. I know there are debates to be had about whether Viking metal is a subgenre or merely a lyrical topic, but my two cents are that if it sounds like "One Rode To Asa Bay" then it's Viking metal even if they sing about aliens or unicorns or memory management in C. But there's one particular moment in that song that is very relevant to this review and it's the one piece of the song that gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Allow me to set the scene in the most dramatic fashion, with all the dramatic pauses necessary.

"People of Asa Bay

It has only

just

BEEEGUUN"

Great, if you have goosebumps too you know what I'm talking about. But more importantly you know exactly what the dramatic pauses in between each of these lines build up to. If you can already continue the song in your head and hear that guitar solo you're right. The guitar solo might not be such a daring choice considering that it's pretty much a staple of rock music as a whole, but there is something about this very specific blend of black metal, folk, and epic doom where the mere concept of the guitar solo just adds so much gravitas that it can make or break the experience. And while I could go on for aeons talking about Bathory, who will forever be relevant, enter SIG:AR:TYR, who completely understand why guitar solos in Viking metal work the way they do.

For those unfamiliar with SIG:AR:TYR, they're the music project of one Canadian-born Daemonskald (Canada is indeed the most Viking appropriate of the New World countries). Originally more of a synthy dark folk sound starting with The Stranger before metal elements were introduced on Sailing The Seas Of Fate. Slowly the dungeon synth and dark folk element began to dissipate and be absorbed into the atmospheric / folk metal mix commonly referred to as Viking metal. The plodding black metal has a pretty strong synth component and folk elements are often intertwined, as is the custom of the genre. The raspy vocals are also quite standard fare, and there's a lot of it that is very straight-forward in keeping up with the genre conventions. I know not every band needs to reinvent the wheel, but for the most part SIG:AR:TYR stay within that lane.

And when I say "for the most part" doesn't mean that they're daringly experimenting, but that some parts of what they do are so above and beyond that they do shackle genre constraints a bit. Sure, some folk and ambient bits do betray that there was a time where SIG:AR:TYR dabbled in these exclusively, with the title track being a prime example of this. But by now you should've figured out that, of course, I'm talking about the guitar solos. This isn't to say that Citadel Of Stars is chock-full of them or that they're in any way out of place, but whenever they do arrive, they're such showstoppers, and they overdeliver to the point of bordering on neoclassical metal. A lot of the times this album won me over have been during guitar solos, which might explain why I can't stop talking about them.

This isn't to say that there's not much else to admire aside from them. A lot of the album's melodies that do sustain the grandiose atmosphere don't come from solos and yet they feel awe-inspiring to the brim. The album does a pretty good job of alternating between more plodding mid-paced dirges and more galloping faster-paced anthems. On the flip-side, there's a bit of a contrast to the preceding album, 2016's Northen, an album that saw the introduction of other members into the fold, with Citadel Of Stars returning to the one-man band setting. The drums are the part that had most to suffer as a result of this return, with them sounding quite bothersome at times production-wise, but not enough to really take me out of the experience.

Hey, did I mention how cool the solos are here?






Written on 08.06.2024 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments

Comments: 2   Visited by: 92 users
08.06.2024 - 23:42
Rating: 8
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Contributor
Excellently written review for this great album. You certainly got me on:

"People of Asa Bay

It has only

just

BEEEGUUN"

It's such a phenomenal song that really makes me want to dig up Hammerheart once more, although I certainly hear the resemblance on this record, and your especially right about the guitar solo's.
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08.06.2024 - 23:57
Rating: 8
Vellichor
I agree these solos are awesome, it’s like Viking Metal that took a lot of inspiration from Pink Floyd
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