The Viking Metal scene has to be one of most unique genres in metal today. By combining certain aspects of Black Metal, traditional folk-inspired instrumentation, and elements of metal in general, Viking Metal not only paints a detailed picture of Sea-going Scandinavian forefathers, but it provides the foundation of epic metal that can stand the test of time. One of the leaders in the Viking Metal movement is Austria's Woodtemple. Aramath leads this one-man band once again, in releasing another consistent album in Sorrow Of The Wind. Whereas Voices Of Pagan Mountains (2006) was more brutal and destructive, Sorrow Of The Wind is more folk oriented and versatile than previous efforts.
After a short acoustic intro, the near 11 minute Rise The Horns Up To Battle begins with a Cranberry's-esque acoustic riff and slowly builds up to the heathenistic metal that Woodtemple was known for on earlier releases. Using the same riff - with more distortion - and accompanied by impressive drumming, the song continues on the Viking metal path before succumbing to the folk influences of clean vocals and traditional instruments. Raging once again with spots of blast beats, the song takes another drastic turn and ends with more folk instrumentation. The third song, The Shields Light, continues on with the folk influences and suddenly changes to a Viking masterpiece at around the 1:10 mark. Fitting perfectly with the new material, Aramath's vokills have never sounded sicker. The next song, Path Of The Ruins, is a short instrumental that showcases Aramath's talent for writing Folk pieces. The final track on the album (less the short outro at the end) is the 13 minute long Sorrow Of The Wind. This is definitely the stand-out track of the album as it contains all of the elements that make Woodtemple a unique force on the metal scene. Combining folk metal, Viking metal, and traditional metal along with hate-inspired vocals, Woodtemple achieve victory in their quest for Viking supremacy.
Woodtemple have set out to create the perfect folk/Viking metal album with Sorrow Of The Wind and have achieved it with ease. Although slightly different from previous outings, Sorrow Of The Wind is a great display of ancestry, heritage, and metal - all wrapped up into one. I highly recommend Woodtemple for fans of Graveland, Moonsorrow, and Viking-Era Bathory.
About this Writer: David Loveless // Dave's early introduction to Metal was listening to records by Black Sabbath and Kiss. Discovering Metallica's Master of Puppets on record at the local public library turned his world upside down. After spending nearly 24 years in Japan and expanding his love for the International underground metal scene, Dave (and family) now resides in the US. The savage brutality of Extreme Metal brings out the "Grim Gaijin" in him.
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