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Rökkr - Rökkr

by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 04 March 2022, 2:54 PM

In the past, BATHORY laid the foundations of what Viking Metal would be in the future with “Blood Fire Death” (1988), “Hammerheart” (1990) and “Twilight of the Gods” (1991). Every Viking Metal subgenre comes from the source that these albums revealed to the world (ok, everyone knows that many bands used Viking lyrics before these albums, but one reflexive question: is Viking Metal just based on its lyrics? Answer for yourselves), so it’s not so hard to understand the ‘trademark’ music from some bands. And the North American duet RÖKKR is coming to show what they got on “Rökkr”, their first release.

Their music is a form of Viking Death Metal played in a similar way to BATHORY and old ENSLAVED on the instrumental parts (that uses a simple and efficient technical approach) with low grunts, but some melodies can be pointed to 70’s Hard Rock. This formula isn’t new at all, but the band shows potential to create very good arrangements (some hooking guitar parts and solos are really hard to resist, as can be heard on “Blackest Dawn”). It’s obvious that they need some maturing in the future, but the offering done on this album is really good.

This album was recorded at Kyle’s own house, and was mixed and mastered by the hands of Greg Wilkinson of Earhammer Fame. The sonority tries to rescue the handmade form of early Viking Metal albums, with that obvious organic appeal (the drums used on the recording seems to be an acoustic one, and without technologic devices as triggers). It’s crude, but can be understood without complaints. But the reason for the delay of 10 years between the recordings and the release of the album still’s a mystery.

The band shows a lot of potential on songs as “Oath of Blood” (very good Viking melodies can be heard on the guitars, entwined by some Hard Rock elements that remembers THIN LIZZY two guitars’ harmonies during some leads), “Blackest Dawn” (a fine and melancholic ambience permeates the song due some arrangements on the guitars, but the heavy and simple parts of bass guitar and drums are very good as well), “Into the Ice” (a slow rhythmic appeal can be heard on this one, creating the right landscaping idea for a Viking Metal release, with very good arrangements), and “Winter” (a 10 minutes song with charming musical arrangements and melodies, with grunts that expresses its aggressive side), and even the opening instrumental “Ravens Wing” shows a band that can become great as some adjusts are done (a tip: maybe shorter time spams would be a fine feature to use in the future).

For those that are into Viking Metal subgenres, “Rökkr” is really a very good release. And all that’s left to say is that RÖKKR can’t stop with just one album.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Ravens Wing (instrumental)
2. Oath of Blood
3. Blackest Dawn
4. Into the Ice
5. Winter
Kyle House - Vocals, Bass, Guitars
Adam Perry - Drums
Record Label: Chaos Records


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