Building on my last review, and my current mood, I've decided to do a short series of reviews of recent Viking metal releases from unexpected sources.
Three months ago, Brazilian "Viking metal" band Hugin Munin released this album. They are calling it their first full-length, though their Metal Archives profile calls it their second, so evidently there is some disagreement there over what qualifies as an album. As my use of quotation marks probably indicates, there is also some disagreement HERE as to what qualifies as Viking metal. The logo certainly looks right. The album and EP titles include such solid bets as "Viking Brothers" and "Die For Odin". The Metal Archives entry agrees that this is a Viking metal band. The actual music, however, does nothing of the sort.
I checked this out, thinking to myself how cool it would be to find some good Viking metal from South America. To their credit, they didn't keep me in suspense very long. What I got, far from my expectations, was mediocre deathcore. I was shocked. Here I was, listening on as a poor man's Lamb of God belched from my speakers, trying to figure out how the hell this band got so badly mislabeled. Did their previous releases sound massively different? Were the genre-makers so caught up in lyrics that they ignored the music? Was I just not hearing the same thing everybody else heard? Sadly, I don't know the answer to the second or third questions. As for the first, after quickly checking out some material from their 2009 EP "Die For Odin", I can say that their sound has changed for the worse with surprising speed. Stylistically I'd be more inclined to lump that EP in with Amon Amarth as death metal about Vikings rather than Viking metal, but at least what little I heard of it actually sounded pretty good. Not great, but solid.
What brought about this change, I don't know. What I can say is that this release saw some halfway decent death metal riffs give way to power chords. In the vocals department, Johan Hegg became Randy Blythe. This new album even had generic, chugging, mosh-ready breakdowns. The energy level is decent, but that's about all I can say in this record's favor.
This isn't actively obnoxious, but it has nothing of value to offer either.