didn't even know where Faroe Island was till I discovered this band.
I'd enjoyed the first two albums and really looked forward to the
third one. Ragnarok came out in 2006 and it completely exceeded my
expectations and was easily the band's best till then. The band at
that point had everything going right for them. Songs and
arrangements were at its peak, storytelling made sure the
album-experience was great, and to top it all, their talent and
mastery of each of the band member's respective craft was undeniable.
Ragnarok was (and still is) an essential listen for anyone into
2008's Land comes when
you'd expect these chaps to up the ante even more. They sing in
Faroese and English like before but there's even some Norwegian this
time around. But the extra viking ingredient hasn't really helped.
I'm not very glad to report this, but this has turned out to be one
of this year's biggest letdowns.
Some of the factors that made them a
class act are still present. Let's talk about their chops first and
foremost. More guitar wankers should learn from this band and its
amazing ability to have technical, yet tastefully phrased melodic
solos. Then you have the trademark two-guitar contrapuntal and
harmonic passages throughout the album. The vocalist is still in top
form, the big viking choruses are still grandiose and makes you want
to sing-along to it with your beer mugs even though you have no clue
what the fuck they're saying.
Where do they manage to
fuck things up, you ask? Well, I don't know if they've run out of
melodies, but a lot of this just crosses the boundary of where I'd
ideally say, “Oh not bad, it's more of the same”. It just gets
way too repetitive and the rehash level attained on some of the tunes
are just preposterous. It's like they're doing versions of songs from
the previous albums. And then there's this epic title track which
sees the same shit happen again, and at sixteen minutes, you wouldn't
want to be here again after being done with it the first time, simply
because they aren't bringing anything new to the table.
Then there's the issue
of the track order. You have a good four minutes squandered right at
the start with what I think is a most purposeless intro. Short intros
are A-OK but this took it too far. You've got to kick 'em where it
hurts and own 'em right at the start. Then of course, the songs keep
going back to what I was complaining about earlier. The whole album
fails to sound together unlike the three previous slabs of folk metal
There are some great
moments here but this has been disappointing for an existing fan.
That said, you shouldn't have too many of these worries if this is
the first album that you're hearing.
Label: Napalm Records
Year of Release: 2008