CD REVIEW King of Asgard

Band: King of Asgard
Title: …to North
Label: Metal Blade Records
Distribution: Rough Trade Benelux – Tone Entertainment
Release date: 27/07/2012
Review: CD

King of Asgard are a Swedish band, were formed in 2008 by guitar player / vocalist Karl Beckman, formerly involved with, for example, Infernal Vengeance, Indungeon and, last but in this case, certainly not least, Mithotyn. Soon he got joined by his former Mithotyn-colleague Karsten Larsson (on drums; also in e.g. The Choir Of Vengeance, Mesentery or Falconer) in order to pay tribute to the roots of Viking-epic (i.e. some kind of Mithotyn-resurrection???). After a first demo (2009’s Prince Of Märings), King of Asgard recruited bass player Jonas Albrektsson, formerly involved with Thy Primordial, Retaliation and Indungeon, and member of Niden Div. or Bloodshed Nihil as well. The trio signed to Metal Blade Records and did record a first album, called Fi’mbulvintr, with Andy LaRocque at his Sonic Train Studio. In order to be able to perform live, they did contact Lars Tängmark, Karsten’s co-member in Mesentery and The Choir Of Vengeance, and King of Asgard did several successful live performances before writing new material for a second album.

That sophomore full length, called …to North (fifty three minutes of duration), was recorded again at Sonic Train with Andy LaRocque at the helm. Helene Blad takes care of the female vocals again (she did co-operate with Mithotyn before as well), and another guest appearance is done by Falconer’s Jimmy Hedlund (also in Supreme Majesty, by the way).

Like Fi’mbulvintr, …to North sounds like a stronger and more mature version of Mithotyn (I have never been so enormously crazy about this defunct band, even though they were pretty successful during the second part of the nineties; although Gathered Around The Oaken Table was a huge step forward in comparison to its predecessors, I have to admit). Of course it does sound very ‘Swedish’: somewhat catchy, balancing in between epic and melodic, balancing in between heavy-powerful and structured, clean yet decent. It’s like Mithotyn with a spicy yet subtle additional seasoning of ingredients from Naglfar, Amon Amarth, In Battle, and if you want to, Ereb Altor as well – also majestic / magisterial Bathory come to mind within a few passages ! - and even several Norwegian colleagues, among which early Satyricon, Enslaved or Kampfar. And in comparison to the former release, this second full length is both stronger (read: more mature in performance and coming with a better, ‘fuller’ sound) and more varied (especially when it comes to the melodies; the tempo for example, in between mid- and up-tempo, did not change, as a matter of fact).

Honestly, this record is an enormous satisfaction, seen the background of the band (= members), and even though King Of Asgard do not add something new to the overcrowded scene, their passionate persuasion and professional craftsmanship must be praised! Victory!

86/100

Ivan Tibos.