Album: Im Schatten der Götter
Genre: (German)Folk Metal
The album was given to me by the band for which I am very grateful!
Zur deutschen Version geht es hier.
One big advantage of Leipzig is its varied Metal scene. The guys of WOLFSTAVAR are very much part of that scene and will release their second album a week from today, on July 30th.
We are starting into this „German Folk Metal“ album with the song Auf nach Walhalla. The first seconds are reminding me of a commencing battle scene from Lord of the Rings, an impression that is soon replaced by impellent blast beats. Right of the bat, we can see one major thing: Compared to the last album, the guys relied on a professional producer to actually produce this album which can be felt almost instantly! There is a vast improvement in quality.
Using the typical folk metal instruments, which also includes bagpipes, we are presented with a solid display of musical style which is enhanced by, in parts, nasty sounding vocals. All in all, I would have added more choirs, especially in the opener, which would have brought the song to the next level.
This album is rich with references and stories from viking mythology. I have no complains concerning the content of these lyrics since there absolutely has to be someone in the band that knows these stories by heart in order for the band to be able to create such captivating lyrics.
The fifth song, called Der Ruf des Nordens, is the first surprise on this album. A ballad-like song whose vocals almost remind me of songs by REINHARD MAY. The song has a very distinct musical sensitivity which is due to the flute and this grants the listener the opportunity to experience the band from another point of view on this album. The transition to the harder play towards the end of the song is also well done and I really like it. The song has a strong expressiveness to it that not all songs on this album accomplish, especially because this song was very carefully composed which is why this is my favorite on this album.
One little fly in the ointment are the parallels to the sog Hugin und Munin from the last album. All things considered, it is very nice that WOLFSTAVAR what makes a good song and that they try to keep that up but in the future it will be pivotal to vary more in order to avoid repetitions.
This review would not be complete if I was not talking about the single Hymirs Versagen. This song is about a giant who tried, together with Thor, to catch the Midgard snake. The bagpipes in this song give me strong SALTATIO MORTIS Manufactum III vibes which is not that far off considering that WOLFSTAVAR started as a medieval band.
I really appreciate the vocals in this song which are the strongest on the whole album. The transitions are also all well on point.
My recommendation to the band would be to experiment more. At times, the album almost seems a bit monotonous and thereby becomes predictable. This can be avoided by experimenting with new instruments or with a newly added variety that could be achieved by adding more choirs, as hinted above. On the second album, a band can never be perfect and there are lot of opportunities for improvement and WOLFSTAVAR have the potential for that.
In conclusion, we are presented with an album that could be a fit for fans of ENSIFERUM and SKYFORGER. The band is able to convey an interesting view of nordic mythology and illustrate that by alternating vocals and effective instrumentals which I really enjoy.
In terms of ingenuity and musical courage there is still room for improvement but I am sure that the band will continue working hard. The direct comparison with the first album shows that the band loves the music they are making and that they have the ambitions to improve themselves which is why I am sure that this is not the last we have heard from them.
Sascha „Malo“ Klemm – Vocals
Jörg Westphal – guitar
Holger Schleinitz – guitar
Stephan Treibl – Bagpipes, flute
Rico „Der Don“ Müller – bass
Stefan „Toge“ Kolke – drums