Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: King of Asgard - Karg

Since their formation in 2008, the Swedish Vikings known as King of Asgard have had a considerable amount of hype surrounding them. Originally formed as a three piece, the band later incorporated an additional guitarist in 2010; just after the release of their debut album, Fi'mbulvintr. The release received a good response from both critics and fans, which mildly tapered off come their second installment, ...To North in 2012. Now ready for their next bi-annual release, King of Asgard have issued their third full-length, Karg.

Genre: Melodic Death Metal, Viking Metal
Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
  1. The Runes of Hel
  2. The Trickster
  3. Highland Rebellion
  4. Remnant of the Past
  5. Omma
  6. The Heritage Throne
  7. Huldran
  8. Rising
  9. Total Destruction (Bonus Track)
Total Playtime: 50 minutes, 09 seconds





Rating: 7.5/10




Since their formation in 2008, the Swedish Vikings known as King of Asgard have had a considerable amount of hype surrounding them. Originally formed as a three piece, the band later incorporated an additional guitarist in 2010; just after the release of their debut album, Fi'mbulvintr. The release received a good response from both critics and fans, which mildly tapered off come their second installment, ...To North in 2012. Now ready for their next bi-annual release, King of Asgard have issued their third full-length, Karg.

Karg starts off on the wrong foot by stomping all over the toes of fellow Asgardians, Amon Amarth. "The Runes of Hel" and "The Trickster" are pure worship tracks that give the listener an immediate adverse mindset towards the content, by being completely filled with the normal Amon Amarth compound of palm muted riffs, double bass drumming, tremolo filled chorus patterns. In fact, "The Trickster" may very well be confused with "Fate of Norns" at some point. If these songs were introduced later into the album, they may not have such a negative impact, but unfortunately for King of Asgard this is not the case. The band eventually make up for their careless two-track rip off, but it's not an easy mistake to forgive, being presented so early.

The rest of the content is pretty original, and it causes the listener to feel lost in a dreary, grey-skied, snow-filled region that has been long forgotten by man. "Highland Rebellion", though not overly impressive, is the first chance that the audience receives to witness the imaginativeness of the band; the track has a boisterous main riff that's made up of a few notes and comes with a slow, mood setting solo. A lot of the load utilizes the ever-so-useful palm muted riff and double bass drum fillers, all which are available in a variety of patterns and gallops. However, the further the material progresses the more enthralling it becomes, by "Total Destruction" the listener will find their Viking cravings fulfilled.


The bass guitar stands out lucidly during the album, often finding itself towering over the riffs of the rhythm guitar with thunderous booms. "Remnant of the Past" has quite a few bass only sections that show off its rocky sound, while "The Heritage Throne" gives rebirth to a traditional folk incantation through a bass driven lead. When it's not focusing on palm muted riffs, the rhythm guitar finds itself simply accentuating the bass, reverse of the standard expectation; "Huldran" is a great example of this innovative framework. Both the rhythm and lead guitar find themselves wrapped up in a generalized distortion, which further sinks Karg into the realm of regular Viking metal; King of Asgard may find it beneficial to add a more differentiating tone to their guitars in the future.

A couple of additional tracks worth a mention are "Omma" and "Total Destruction". The ritualistic "Omma" begins with a clean piano, and then the song starts into an entrancing, distorted alternate picking which is backed by tribal drum patterns. Overall the track stays at a slow pace, and the chants that lay just beneath the surface are eeriely soothing. On the other hand, "Total Destruction" is a stampedeing, blackened track that takes on a low-grade production quality; a feature that's completely different from the rest of the release. The vocals during this song find themselves enveloped in an echo, and each element pushes the boundaries of their aggressiveness; proving that King of Asgard are able to create a barbaric war anthem.

Even though Karg begins by emulating the mock-up of Amon Amarth, the album eventually transforms into a unique piece. Though King of Asgard still have some honing to do in order to perfect their craft, they are on the right path in doing so. The mood of their material is gray and cold, with visions of snow and epic battles flowing through the mind. The inclusion of traditional folk rhythms during "Omma" really brings the time period of their subject matter to life. However, the dreary tone and distortion of both the lead and rhythm guitars suck life out of the material; along with the repetitive drum patterns that tend to fall back on double bass filler. The album doesn't live up to the immense hype that has surrounded it, bu it's still a solid listen for those who love their Norse Paganism.

Digital Download Provided by: Metal Blade Records

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