HAVAMAL – The Shadow Chapter
- by J.N.
- Posted on 06-08-2021
What the Swedish quintet Havamal offers is essentially melodic death metal with plenty of bombast and lofty ideas to it. With its pagan/Viking metal overtones and lyrics inspired by Norse mythology, the nine compositions that constitute "The Shadow Chapter" are brimming with galloping riffs, epic atmospheres, growls and chants, choirs and keyboards, and an overall aura of Nordic-inspired grandeur. While many of the riffs are easy on the ear and the melodies are catchy, the record as a whole is a rather pedestrian and uninteresting listening experience.
Everything sounds too slick and polished somehow, and the most frustrating thing is that the album is utterly predictable. These guys are undoubtedly skilled musicians and there is a certain conviction and determination to what they do here, but still the LP comes across as a somewhat one-dimensional and shallow musical affair, almost as if it is devoid of depth and substance. Regardless of how many times I have spun the disc, it leaves me with literally nothing every damn time and I find it lackluster and unstimulating.
Sadly, it lacks thrills and rough edges, and a tiny dose of danger and unpredictability would have done wonders for it. If you are a fan of bands ala Amorphis and Naglfar then perhaps it might be interesting to you, but personally, I found it to be a forgettable opus.