Hangatyr – Kalt (Self-released)
Review by Milos Sebalj
Germany has a long tradition within Black Metal and most of it revolves very close to the original second wave Scandinavian school of the genre. A bit of an epic twist to the chilly atmosphere was notable, but it was never enough to spawn some more remarkable name. There were a couple, like Drengskapur, who showed some interesting ideas on that field, or, like Winterblut for instance, progressed to the very borders of Black Metal. Most of others melted into mediocrity and stayed there.
So, where does Hangatyr stand in that order of things? Somewhere in the middle actually.
While the majority of ’Kalt’ does sound like the offspring (no, not the band) of some cult Norwegian band, the German quartet brings some very fine melodic riffing here or there. Trouble is that those parts are too sporadic to make that much of an impact. Plus, the awful mixing resulted with the fact that the cymbals often cover those parts to an unacceptable degree. Furthermore, the tracks run too long and they are fairly repetitive, so that is easy to lose focus unless you are deeply immersed into the music. Now, those melodic moments do carry the mentioned epic atmosphere, reminiscent of some Viking Metal, which is where the main inspiration lays for the band. Still, the point remains the same. They need more concrete songs or a better variety when it comes to structuring their tracks. It should be done much more skillfully, especially on the third album by a 14 year old band.
Another note concerns the vocals. The screaming parts sound quite good, strong and confident, but then the tormented shrieks come on and ruin the whole thing. It might be just my taste, because these types of vocals always get on my nerves, but I really think that music that claims to be inspired by the Norse mythology should come with no wailing included.
Not everything is as dark as I project it. Or it is, depending on how you color your Black Metal. For me it’s more in the greyscale. Hangatyr is definitely not bad. Neither is ‘Kalt’ a terrible record. It just misses a ‘hook’ that will make it memorable and that needs to be changed as soon as possible. I’m not sure how long the fans will dwell on the way too familiar ground. The fourth album must be more than this, otherwise this band will soon fall into oblivion.