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'Swords of Midgard'
(Moonlight Records)

jools green

Jools Green


Sometimes I find myself intrigued by albums that are sent to me for review and 'Swords Of Midgard' by 'Ulvedharr' is one of those albums.

Hailing from Clusone (Bergamo), Lombardy, this Italian quartet plays a mix of Death/Thrash Metal and take their musical inspiration from Norse Mythology and the Vikings; not quite what you would expect.

My intrigue was certainly justified as the approach Ulvedharr take to Death/Thrash is interesting and intense but not overworked, full of great riffs, the drum work complemented the guitars perfectly and good vocals, shouty but deep, with a harsh edge to them.

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Prior to 'Swords Of Midgard' the band had a self released EP, 'Viking Tid', in 2012 and all those tracks are also featured on this, their debut full length release.

The opening track, 'Intro' is an intense instrumental of repeat riffs that serves as an extended intro to the up-tempo 'Lindisfarne', a great track, one minute up tempo and thrashy, the next doomy and deathly.

'Odin Father Never Die' is a slower opener, but the pace soon picks up to the best repeat riff of the album and is a big favourite with me for that reason alone. Accompanied by quite simple lyrics, but they don't need to be complex alongside that great riff.


'War Is In The Eyes Of Berserker' has an excellent opening, a catchy head nodder, before the pace kicks up several gears to a high speed thrash fest, another track that I really liked and the bonus of a great solo midway. A drum opener on 'Onward to Valhalla' with pounding riffs and an equally pounding beat.

'Beowulf & Grendel (Part 1)' has a slow, dark, doomy, opener but gathers to a marching pace as this seven and a half minute marathon progresses. The track also features the guest vocals form Lorenzo Marchesi (Folk Stone). 'Ymir Song' has a beautiful, emotive, extended opening, then two minutes in the track picks up speed, with a strong folk edge in places, to this otherwise chugging track and also features towards the latter end a guest vocal appearance from Lisy Stefanoni (Evenoire).

'The Raven's Flag' has a bass led opener that builds and expands out to some great dark, chugging riffs. The final track, another with dark, chugging riffs that pretty much encompass the length of the track, 'Haraldr Hárfagri' features another guest vocalist, Pagan (Furor Gallico). Throughout, the tempo does drop away severely a couple of times lending an interesting, sinister edge to the track.

As far as first releases go 'Swords Of Midgard' is a good one, up-beat and an interesting listen and I hope Ulvedharr on future releases can build on what they have achieved so far.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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