REBELLION - review added 21st July 2009
Album Review: Arise - From Ragnarök to Ginnungagap... (2009)
For fans of: Power Metal... and Norse mythology
I consider myself a fan of Norse mythology. Hell, even my cats are called Loki and Freya. But there is a limit to how much I want to listen to in an album. This release by Rebellion, boasting the comedically long title of Arise - From Ragnarök to Ginnungagap, The History of the Vikings - Volume III, is halfway to a diploma on the subject.
I suppose you'd describe the release as a concept album, although the conceptual part only stretches as far as the lyrics - including mentioning Ragnarök about every 10 seconds.
The sound is standard for the genre - heavy and deep with a variety of clean and throaty vocals layered over the top. It's accessible but brutal enough to appease the tattooed minions. There is a definite feel of power-laden metal in the mix, but there's also hints of death, black metal, classic rock and folky prog. In all the sound is doomily pleasant and very well produced.
As on the recent EP (The Clans Are Marching) the Rebellion line-up is Gerd Lücking (drums), Tomi Göttlich (bass), Michael Seifert (vocals), Simone Wenzel (guitar) and Uwe Lulis (guitar).
Opening track 'War' is anonymous in the general scheme of things. The guitars have a great sound but the track never really gets anywhere. 'Arise', first featured on the EP that preempted this release, sounds as fantastic is ever. The backing singer still sounds like Axl Rose but don't let that put you off. This is comfortably the best track on the album and one of the better this year. It really does need to be heard to be believed.
'Odin' is a thumpingly heavy track with the sort of sound you could use to scare pensioners in your local town centre. The drum rhythms are, rather aptly, mythologically proportioned. Nice to hear some proper soloing too. 'Runes' is a thundering, if one dimensional, track. The opening riff sounds artificial but it'll clean the barnacles from your ears. The remainder of the song is like a tank driving through a field of cows: there's a lot of crunching and the overwhelming feeling that nothing's ever going to stop it.
'Thor' really comes across like a history lesson in a dusty old museum - a history lesson by a hairy leather-clad metal dude, but a lesson nonetheless. The song builds slowly, traverses a plateau of Iron-Maiden-ness and settles into what you could describe as a battle ballad. 'Evil' opens up a can of whoop-ass, speed wise at least. It's a fast paced track with the drums set on fast forward.
'Prelude' is a mid paced pounder with a solid groove, whilst 'Ragnarök' (once past the acoustic intro) is a bombastically honest heavy metal track with a mildly annoying and repetitive chorus. Final track 'Einherjar' is an epic way to finish the album. With beautiful female harmonies, hugely heavy riffs, winding solos and Michael Seifert giving his all there isn't a lot not to like.
Arise - From Ragnarök to Ginnungagap, The History of the Vikings - Volume III is a vastly titled album with an equally vast sound. Rebellion have done sterling work writing and producing this, and the musicianship is exemplary... but it's all a little bit, dare I say, boring. Apart from the stunning 'Arise' there are few memorable moments and the whole thing blurs into an hour of (bloody nice) noise.
Check out... The length of the title. If you have any time left, check out 'Arise'. Awesome track.