Himinbjorg - _Europa_
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Quite possibly France's most widely known Pagan (and, erm, Viking)
metal export, Himinbjorg are back with _Europa_, the follow-up to
2003's _Haunted Shores_. Compared to past efforts, keyboards are
conspicuous for their absence, as the band continues to tread a
somewhat more aggressive path than before -- a process that had
already begun with _Haunted Shores_. In addition to a number of
musical approaches, with varying ties to black metal, Himinbjorg use
several vocal styles: basic black metal rasps, a style that might be
likened to Attila's vocals on Mayhem's _De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas_ but
fails to have any positive effect on the music, occasional grunts and
some mediocre clean singing. The production is on the weaker side of
average, and while it does not harm the album, it fails to boost its
impact. _Europa_ is one of those forgettable albums that is neither in
any way terrible nor engaging; it presents no real improvement
compared to its predecessor, instead coming across as lacking in
inspiration and energy. Himinbjorg have shown in the past that they
can do better than this, so perhaps their next release will mark a
return to form.
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