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Bifröst - Mana Ewah

Mana Ewah
by Erika Kuenstler at 29 April 2016, 11:28 AM

The Austrian Pagan Metal horde BIFRÖST are back this year, unleashing their fourth full-length album “Mana Ewah”. With this new opus, BIFRÖST have taken a small step along the path less travelled by most Pagan Metal bands, fuelling the darker influences in their music until we have the roaring inferno that is "Mana Ewah". Nevertheless, this album still remains in line with their previous releases, marking another solid notch in the Pagan Metal pegboard.

Starting off with "Himmelsfall", we are immediately met with a melancholic song that does an excellent job of setting the pace for the remaining songs. This more morose sound is magnified in "Verräters Geschick", in which interesting variations in tempo bring the song to life. The following title track "Mana Ewah" is a really catchy song that I can see rapidly becoming a crowd favourite at live shows, courtesy of its repetitive infectious riffing and upbeat feeling. This mood is carried over to "Waffenbruder Niedergang", although the galloping pace and moodier atmosphere makes this one of the stronger songs of the album. BIFRÖST´s Folk Metal roots are evident in the vestigial uses of the more folky instruments, although these are now more used to add facets to the music, rather than dominating the foreground as they had on previous work. Even the vocals have a darker feel to them, with harsh gravelly rasps lending the songs an even more ferocious sound. Perhaps the most exemplary of such songs is "Im Angesicht des Todes", which weaves in scintillatingly atmospheric sections into the heavier and more oppressive parts. Here the vocals add an aggressive Black Metal overlay, which is perfectly countered by the searing guitar melodies. "Tobendes Herz" on the other hand sees the album return to a lighter vein, before closing song "Eine neue Zeit" takes us back to the slower and more melancholic atmosphere seen at the beginning, bringing the album around full circle.

Although comprising a total of seven songs, this album seems to fly by. This is nice, as it prevents the album from becoming long-winded and tiresome. However, whilst "Mana Ewah" can´t per se be called generic tosh, it would have still been great to see the band experiment with their sound a bit more. BIFRÖST certainly have the maturity and musical prowess to pull that off successfully. Then again, there is something to be said for a band that sticks to their sound whilst others hound after the latest trends. Overall though, this is definitely one of the band´s more mature releases to date. "Mana Ewah" is a fresh and fast-paced opus that is likely to appeal not only to BIFRÖST fans, but also to fans of bands such as ENSIFERUM and EQUILIBRIUM. If you´re into your good old Pagan Metal with no frills attached, look no further: this album is for you.

Memorability: 6
Production: 8
Song Writing: 7
Originality: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Himmelsfal
2. Verräters Geschick
3. Mana Ewah
4. Waffenbruder Niedergang
5. Im Angesicht des Todes
6. Tobendes Herz
7. Eine neue Zeit
Matthias van Matterhorn - Guitars, Keyboards
Severni Veter - Drums
Nordolf - Guitars
Ragnar - Vocals
Mario - Bass
Record Label: Einheit Produktionen


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