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  ACHREN
'The Forgotten King'
(Ceol Dorchas Productions)
Out Now

Lee Fitzsimmons

lee fitzsimmons

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Raganarok is the end of all things. This is when the feast and festivities at Valhalla come to an end and the hosts descend upon Midgard to do battle with the minions of Hel (sic).

lacuna coil

At this time, bloody war will reign and the field of battle will run red with the resulting destruction. The fate of the world shall be decided with this single battle, and it shall be immense. Here is where gods and monsters alike collided and fell upon each other in deadly combat. So it is quite fitting that there should be a soundtrack for the event, and this album's material should definitely be considered when deciding the playlist.

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From the outset, song titles like 'Impaled', 'Fury Of The Northmen' and 'Wings Of War' (and even the blurb on the the album cover) give the listener an indication of what to expect. This Scottish blood Metal outfit strides through the Metal genre, incorporating many of the techniques employed in differing styles. From black to thrash, their brutality and power rampages through the entire album like an unstoppable force obliterating all in their path.

'Impaled' is a tremendous powerhouse beginning to an album whose song titles promise so much violence within. An excellent piece of instrumental work leading nicely into a very raw and monolithic vocal performance has you revisiting days of old and mentally swinging a broadaxe or claymore towards your enemy's head. That's the theme it conjures to me. A feeling of a fantastical war; a strength courses through the listener with every beat and, as the tempo increases, you feel that energy spread within you. Definitely a track for a heavy day of work or work-out!

When the Vikings strode the world exploring, fighting and generally living, their war parties where often accompanied by the steady and resounding war drums and guttural bellows. The second track, 'The Way Of The Twilight...Or The Aura Of Flies', captures that so succinctly. The unrestrained yet engaging vocals, coupled with some superb work on the instruments, would make the skalds of old stand back in amazement and acknowledge the skill. Love this track!

Progressing onwards, there are many high spots to this album, in my opinion. I love the power and violence contained within this longboat of talent. 'Fury Of The Northmen' is a particular favourite of mine. Although quite short, it grabs and immediately engages the listeners, giving them the opportunity to throw abandon to the wind and really let their internal beast out for a spell.

This is mirrored in 'Wings Of War' which is, again, another short track. The sheer brutality and animalistic strength of the track really infuses you with a sense of impending violence, almost like the spearhead of a Norse assault upon a gathered army. Forget the anticipation, this track plunges you straight into the roar and rampage through the lines of the oh-so-outmatched foe.

Throughout its entirety, the theme of violence, brutality and strength flows like wine in the halls of Utgardar (Utgard: home of the giants in Norse Mythology). The album screams quality louder than any mythological god and has the listener just as engaged to their power. I, for one, was extremely impressed with the material and the unique style in which it is performed. It makes more of an impression on a person than a Viking assault on an unsuspecting Saxon village and is just as powerful.

Achren is a character from a series of novels entitled 'The Chronicles Of Prydain'. She was a queen and consort to the Lord Of Death, Arawn, and a powerful enchantress who died a heroine. She was strong-willed and single-minded of purpose. This is exactly the same as Achren themselves on this album. Enchanting, strong and true to their vision, and a definite inclusion for the play-list for the battle for the end of all things methinks!

If you like your music violent, brutal and strong then this is certainly deserving of a chance. I have focused a lot on Norse mythologies of old but, for me, this was immediately what was conjured up whilst enjoying this album. It was a time of brutality, power and strength. Exactly what this album contains!

Deep in the dark recesses of the nearest music stockist lies waiting a treasure of old. Forgotten but oh-so-valuable, it exists awaiting the time it is brought into the harsh light of day. Acknowledge its value, mount an expedition and never leave this valued king forgotten for too long! Unlike Beowulf, you do not have to fight Grendel or defend a village, just part with some cash and bring it the recognition it deserves!

A hit for me, a saga to be told!

19.11.11



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