January 24, 2013

Filthy Music Review - 'Skálmöld: Börn Loka'

Skálmöld - Börn Loka (2012)

Napalm Records

Review by Jude Felton

If I am being 100% honest I can say that I am not overly familiar with the music output of Iceland, but if Skálmöld are anything to go by I shall be digging deeper into this remote islands musical talent. Billed as Viking Metal or Battle Metal if you prefer, Skálmöld’s second album, Born Loka really does fit the bill of either one of those titles. Listening to this concept album I felt the urge to loft my battle axe and ride into battle! Well, maybe not but the visuals this album conjures up whilst listening to it fit that bill perfectly.

The concept of the album concerns the story of siblings Hilmar and Brynhildur, and the journey to achieve the highest Viking honor. You’ll just have to take my word for that as the entire album is sung in rich Icelandic. Even though I have no idea exactly what is being sung it took nothing away from the impact of the album itself. If anything it just added to the overall impact; you will find yourself getting swept away in this maelstrom of wonderful music.

For a point of reference I would possibly describe Skálmöld as a vital blend of Manowar and Amon Amarth, but with much more to their sound than that. Choral sections, chanting, blistering drum sections and some wonderful guitar mastery, all fused together, blending truly thunderous Metal with Icelandic folk music. And do you know what? It all works wonderfully. The first time I listened to the album was in my car, volume cranked up, as I headed to work; it was a revelation. Being in the midst of the Pennsylvanian winter, I was driving through an icy and snow-covered landscape, and Born Loka delivered the perfect soundtrack.

The album contains 10 tracks, opening with Odinn, before closing with the epic Loki, with nary a bad track on it. This is one of those albums that really should be savored as a whole; set aside 50 odd minutes and just listen to the entire thing, it really is worth it. Set aside the fact that, unless you speak Icelandic you won’t know what is being sung, and instead just get swept up in this epic Viking tale, it’s a journey I highly recommend.


01. Óðinn
02. Sleipnir
03. Gleipnir
04. Fenrisúlfur
05. Himinhrjóður
06. Miðgarðsormur
07. Narfi
08. Hel
09. Váli
10. Loki

Skálmöld: Börn Loka is available now from Napalm Records.

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