Gjallarhorn is a Russian band that was formed back in 2000, but never released anything until now. They come from Kemerovo in Siberia and as you can guess by their name they started as a Viking metal band. Their debut album “Фолькванг” was released in the end of 2011 by the Russian label Musica Production, but it has almost nothing to do with the Viking genre in my opinion.
They play epic melodic atmospheric black metal with some folk and pagan elements. Their music isn’t very extreme and they use a lot of keyboards combined with the guitars. Gjallarhorn’s production is a little raw and “low-budget” and I think it needs a lot of improvement, especially since their orchestrations are closer to symphonic epic metal, a style that asks for crystal clear sound. The band shows very good composing skills and all 7 songs have interesting structures and catchy melodies. Their raw black metal screams is the most extreme element in their music and actually the only reason to put them in the “black” metal genre. Some nice piano and violin parts together with a few folk tunes and instruments make “Фолькванг” even more diverse. If I had to speak only for the songs as compositions, I couldn’t find anything negative; they are really great. Their atmospheric metal has sometimes a melancholic mood and other times a more epic aggressive approach. All of their lyrics are in Russian and their general concept is about Norse mythology, Vikings and Odinism.
“Фолькванг” is a very good debut album that I totally recommend to fans of epic atmospheric black metal and especially to those who prefer its more melodic versions. I am not sure if Gjallarhorn will release anything else soon, or which genre they will choose in the future, but I hope they improve their production. Everything else is great in this album that unluckily lasts for only 36 minutes. It is released by Musica Productions in jewel case with 12-page booklet and you can get a taste of their music in the following links.