It has been 5 years since we listened to something new from Himinbjorg, when they released the album “Europa”. After that, there was silence and almost no news from them. I actually thought the band split up, but then out of nowhere they return with a new full length from their own label European Tribes. I always liked this band from the French Alps, so I was eager to listen to their new work. Himinbjorg are usually described as Viking black metal, but I think this “term” isn’t accurate at all in their case. Maybe in their first works it was closer, but they always had a very strange and personal sound. They had some black metal songs, some experimental songs and they also had some epic pagan black metal songs that are my favorite from the band and the basic reason I first listened to Himinbjorg.
In this new album “Chants d’hier, Chants de Guerre, Chants de la Terre”, which translates to “Songs of Old, Songs of War, Songs of the Land” they emphasize on their more experimental face. The tempo of the songs is slowed down and aggression gives its place to a dark atmospheric epic mood. There are two long almost ambient songs with dark recitations and a soundtrack atmosphere as well as 3 epic acoustic songs. Of course there are also five pagan black metal songs in this album that are simply amazing and they are enough in my opinion for someone to buy this album! Especially the fifth song “Destin de Sang” with the combination of black and clean vocals and the addition of folk instruments is the highlight of this album. If I had to rate only this song it would be a 10!!! Zahaah’s epic clean vocals really work for me and he is one of my favorite singers, since he has a very personal, expressive and characteristic voice. Except for “Destin de Sang” that is the most “typical” pagan folk metal track here, the rest of the songs have a very unique approach. They are slower, with dark melancholic melodies, combined with some “warmer” riffs that in my opinion have a gothic touch. Anyway, the result is quite interesting and original… This time all lyrics are in French (for the first time, after 5 albums in English) and they deal with the influence of ancestral spirit and traditions in someone’s personal life experience.
I believe that this is a very good album from Himinbjorg, who are not afraid to experiment. They always had a variety of “genres” in their albums, but maybe this time the differences between the genres are bigger and more obvious. I have to admit that I wasn’t very impressed from these “experimental” songs and I prefer their more fast, aggressive and “alive” side. I believe though that the basic reason is that if you don’t understand French you can’t really get into these songs, since they are mainly based on their lyrics. Anyway the rest of the songs really make it up for me. You can visit their official site to find more info about purchasing this album and listen to some of their songs.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos