Mithotyn - _In the Sign of the Ravens_
(Metal Blade, 1998)
by: Drew Snow (9 out of 10)
Refill your pint of ale and put down your oars, it's time for another extremely solid album of heavily Viking tinged black metal, this time courtesy of the debut album _In the Sign of the Ravens_ from Sweden's Mithotyn. Taking a much more melodic approach than most of their ilk (Falkenbach, Enslaved, etc.), yet still retaining the occasional high speed passages and black vocals (the only thing keeping them in the realm of black metal are these two factors), Mithotyn are without a doubt among the top merchants of their trade. With an unparalleled emphasis on overt, drawn out melodies, these aren't buried deep in the mix as is often to be heard, and perfect placement of keyboards when needed, the band plows through eleven tracks of excellently composed, beautifully executed, heavily melodic and often epic Viking black metal. While incorporating many things common to their style, for example the typical manly chanting, Mithotyn also take upon themselves to include some unique elements, such as the occasional orchestra hit, harpsichord part (prediction: more bands will use harpsichord in the future), and some very cool stop-time arrangements, deftly elevating themselves above the norm in the process. I also feel obligated to point out that the band has as its drummer Karsten, formerly of Dawn, and he of the fluffy blonde Swede-Afro. Simply stated, those looking for a venture into melody-dominated metal with all the northern trap pings should begin praising Odin and snatch up _In the Sign of the Ravens_ immediately.

(article published 10/3/1998)

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