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Label: Napalm Records
Cat #: NPR1220DP
Release Year: 2023
Packaging Type: Digipak
"Skálmöld" is an old Icelandic word literally meaning "Age of Sword". It was used to describe, among other things, the period of the Icelandic civil war in the 13th century known as the Sturlung Era.
After reigning in the metal scene for almost 15 years, the viking folk metal giants SKÁLMÖLD unveil their highly anticipated sixth studio album, Ýdalir. With their first record in five years, the Icelandic six-piece exceeded all expectations – inspired by several Icelandic sagas and Norse mythology, such as the poem Grímnismál.
Starting off with soothing opener “Ýr“, gentle acoustic guitar and organs are the calm before the storm. Catapulted to a dwelling owned by the god Ullur, the unsettled “Ýdalir“ builds with its hypnotizing guitar rhythms and galloping drum sounds, building a solid ground for ominous and dark growls. Carried by a breathtaking guitar solo, strident growls alternate with clean vocals, delivering the message of “Ratatoskur”. Followed by the chant-like song “Verðandi“, SKALMÖLD present an unforgettable track, with catchy guitar and oboe-driven details! While the first half of the track is dominated by the heaviest of folk and death metal elements, strong vibrations of growls subside with the sound of the ocean and fragile organ melodies. Based on Norse mythology, the sister “Skuld” makes up a trio of Norns, responsible for deciding the fate of people. Remarkable clean tenor vocals guide through the mystic mood, breaking up the heavy horizon with a fast-paced guitar solo and underlined by eerie bass lines. Closing the album, the stunning ten-minute track “Ullur” invites the listener into a colourful journey of melodic folk metal. Accompanied by roaring fire, the lyrics conform to some of the Old Norse poetic forms and create a magnificent interaction of oboe and keyboard elements, while the catchy guitar riff rises dramatically with the more eerie-like harmonies, providing a cinematic, epic ending.
With Ýdalir, SKÁLMÖLD showcases a blend of both ancient and modernized cultural heritage and connects precious sagas with thrilling black metal elements while folk metal melodies give them an enigmatic touch.
Recommended if you like: Finntroll, Moonsorrow, Turisas, Heidevolk, Eluveitie, Trollfest, Manegarm, Northland, Heathen Foray, Einherger, Cruachan, Suidakra
8. Níðhöggur feat. Baldvin Kristinn Baldvinsson