Themes of Vikings and the like aren’t exactly news in the realm of metal. Vikings are a common theme that have been used in the metal genre since anyone can really remember. However, Finland natives Wolfhorde don’t exactly play metal to tell their stories of epic battles and savage warriors. Of course Wolfhorde is inspired by the Vikings, even part of their name is in the shape of a viking ship, but more than anything they tell tales of Viking heritage and mythology instead of glorifying battle and war heroes.
Wolfhorde mixes sounds and tempos to create different feelings and soundscapes throughout Towards The Gates of North. You will end up finding yourself listening to a song that is cheery for the most part only to have Wolfhorde pull the dammed rug out from underneath you and change the tempo to something melancholy and depressing.
The mixing of different elements is something that Wolfhorde pulls off expertly, mixing emotions with the music not only giving the listener variation but also something to think about as the album runs like one long tale.
As mentioned, the Viking theme seems to almost be over played in metal much like other themes are, but there seems to be something extra to Wolfhorde. They aren’t out to tell you gory tales of battle or make you feel like a pit of despair has been dug out of the center of your soul with tales of depression and loss. Instead they weave tales that tell you of Viking heritage and mythology among other things that really do put you in the middle of what may have been going on at the time.
Music that is elegantly done and well crafted often demands more attention and should often get that attention. Each song is very well put together as Wolfhorde mixes plenty of different elements to give the listener plenty of music and variation to chew on.
Throughout Towards The Gates of North you encounter heavy and stinging riffs that are often paired with softer acoustic elements that soften their sound as well as give them more depth and feeling. The drums can pummel their way through any battle tested helmet and weather worn rock that it may come across and the bass rumbles and stirs the salted sea beneath Wolfhorde’s ship. Over top the rumbling bass and furious riffs the vocalist roars a thunderous battle cry as if he’s calling his men into battle with him.
Layered on top of the heavy riffage and the stirring drums are folk music stylings that really drive home the fact that you are listening to metal that is about Vikings. Those folk elements make you feel as though you are at the helm of a ship leading your fellow bloodied Vikings into a savage battle, and at times they also make you feel as though you’re having a grand time sitting around a fire enjoying a feast and drinking copious amounts of mead.
No matter what feeling Wolfhorde throws at you, there’s no denying the fact that the music is heavy and very diverse. There is a lot of emotion behind each song and each tale is very well woven. Towards The Gates of North is an album that is very well crafted and put together as each song flows with one another. There is enough here for anyone to enjoy, and you’d better enjoy otherwise you may have some brutish Vikings knocking on your door shortly.
Towards The Gates of North will be released through Inverse Records on January 22nd next year.