Månegarm have been around a lot longer than I expected, nearly 25 years, and with this landmark of a year, they’re ushering in a new record. For those unfamiliar, Månegarm is a Swedish band hailed as one of the pioneers of folk metal, and are notable for being one of the few bands that doesn’t take that moniker and decide to just dress up like cavemen and play bad songs about beer while trying to use an 80s Cassio keyboard as a stand-in for actual folk instruments.
Fornaldarsagor, which dropped April 26 through Napalm Records, has a pretty nice foundation of black and melodic death metal for the band to mix in their folky melodies. “Sveablotet” and “Slaget vid Bråvalla” both start out the record with catchy, anthemic tunes and plenty of chugging aggression to keep things moving forward. The album bills itself as a concept album based on adventurous saga stories, so be prepared for plenty of folky ambience and swashbuckling hooks.
“Ett Sista Färval” is the first track on the record that shows itself to be particularly folk-forward, featuring violin and a clean folk tune. “Spjutbädden,” the follow-up track, features a groovy, black ‘n’ roll-esque main riff that melds surprisingly well with the violin lines that come in later.
Månegarm has aged well, and Fornaldarsagor is a fun album full of swashbuckling black and melodeath folk metal, though it can be a lot to take in at once, as tracks begin to sound fairly similar. The songwriting and production are still great though. Recommended.