Galar 

Til Alle Heimsens Endar

Dark Essence Records 2010

The new album from Galar is Norwegian black folk-metal that conjures imagery and emotions from a primal and distant past filled with naturalistic pride and heathen nostalgia.  The intro on this album is one of the most remarkable I have heard in quite awhile.  It is full of dark classical instrumentation that reminds me a little of Peter and the Wolf.  This spills directly into Van which has a massive yet flowing melody and blasting drums that bring to mind Windir's early works.  Clean vocals are woven into the fabric of the song and provide a soothing contrast to the harsh black metal shrieks.  Like a falcon circling over pristine forest Paa Frossen Mark gently moves in a swaying riffing pattern.  Soft tinkling keys sparkle like moist leaves in the breeze towards the song's innards before giving way to more forbidding guitars and imposing drums.  Gramr has the most familiar feeling for me, perhaps striking a similar riff to folk-metal Kampfar, though the melodic lead over the top of the song lends a more melancholic texture to the track.  The acoustic strumming and classical instruments drive home the ancient roots of the song's inspiration.  Det Graa Riket is an instrumental that begins with meandering piano and then delves back into the classical compositional theme of the intro.  The title track is intense, blasting black metal and a consuming somber melody stalks me in the opening passage.  The song overpowers with the melody, driving home the serene beauty of an unspoiled past where proud warriors surveyed a lush green landscape.  This pride is strong amongst the layered clean vocals that a plentiful throughout the song.  Across the album, the interplay of the two styles of vocals creates a diverse palette upon which these artists paint a mature masterwork of heathenish black metal.  For those of you entranced by black metal that lights a pagan fire within your heart then Galar will surely set that Viking bonfire aflame.