American Viking folk black metal band Skogshallen from California has recently released its debut full-length album. The band was formed in 2005 (with a different name) as the solo project of Vidfrey and remains a one-man-band with several guest musicians since then. In 2011 Skogshallen released the demo album “Northern Lights” and 3 years later, on May 1st 2014, the time for the debut album has come. “Ölrunir’s Saga” is a self-released album, while its physical copies are distributed by Kunaki.
According to the band itself, Skogshallen play Vinlandic Viking folk metal. Vinland is the name given to part of North America by Norse Vikings. Well, their music is actually folk black metal with Viking thematology, borrowing also elements from melodic death and epic power. The band is influenced by many big bands of the genre, especially from Finntroll. Melodic guitars, epic folk synths, several traditional instruments, epic clean vocals and choirs add a jolly humorous Viking mood in their music. Their sound has a good balance, since all instruments are heard clearly and in the right level, with several technical parts too. The band still keeps its sound quite extreme, due to the brutal nature of Vidfrey’s black metal vocals, who gets some help by guest vocalists too. ”Ölrunir’s Saga” is a relatively short album for a full-length, since its 11 songs last a little over 32 minutes. While their music is quite enjoyable and catchy, they still need more work if they want to create something more personal and distinctive. The production needs also improvement, in order to get a more natural sound, but then again is satisfying for a debut album. All their lyrics are in English and actually “Ölrunir’s Saga” is a concept album about a Viking’s humorous “saga”…
Skogshallen is a very pleasant band to listen to, especially if you are not looking for something too “serious” and you just want to “fix” your mood. Of course these is still a lot to improve, but if you are a fan of Viking folk metal you better give them a listen. “Ölrunir’s Saga” is self-released and is available in their Bandcamp page. It is also distributed in jewel-case edition CD with a 2-page cover, printed by Kunaki. You can visit the band’s official pages for more info and music, following the links below.