People are still getting a little bit triggered that I gave Swedish viking metal upstart Brothers of Metal’s debut album a less than favorable review. Now here the eight piece (seriously?) are again, ready to do it all over with sophomore album Emblas Saga, the best side of which is the front, because Péter Sallai’s album cover is delicious. Open it and start listening and it quickly loses its luster however. Emblas Saga literally couldn’t keep my interest to get through in one sitting - I had to turn off and put on some good music to retain my sanity. However, the album is better (barely) than the travesty that was their first album, but it is not a good album because Brothers of Metal still fail to capitalize on their strongest elements. They do not need three guitarists, and they for sure they don’t need any other vocalist beside Ylva Eriksson; the lady has a great voice and phenomenal delivery, don’t go around ruining it with what has to be some twelve year old’s image of super badass manly vocals.
Do I have anything against cheesy, mindless power metal fun that takes all the tropes, adds a bunch of cheese and just runs with it? Usually not, but to last beyond a single listen and perhaps a chuckle it needs to be backed up by talent, musicianship and coherency therein. They’ve toned down some of the overblown pseudo theatrics from the debut, which is to the benefit of the sound, but not enough to save the album. Every single thing here has been done way better by greater bands before them, and even though there are some good moments, toe tappingly thrusting rhythms and glowing melodics, Brothers of Metal has nothing new or interesting to bring to the table. They also don’t seem to be able to decide if they want to poke fun with the mythology or if they want to depict Nordic myths accurately through musical storytelling. Pick a lane, or at least don’t switch between them mid song.
The title track is the band’s attempt at an epic, and for sure, the intro is enthralling, Eriksson’s solemn voice over a crackling fire is both fitting and atmospheric. Once the intro is over however the song quickly turns into just another song like any other on the album; bland and overglossed. One has that kinda sweet chorus that you need to nod along to, and that solo isn’t half bad, but everything else about it seems to be their take on a ballad, slow pumping along with those meaningless, raspy vocals and it’s about as good as that Raubtier ballad I can’t remember the name of (only you don’t laugh as much). Shit, closer To the Skies and Beyond does things right by tossing in folk elements and letting Eriksson take care of things on her own in the chorus and just all around being a decent ass power metal song - more of that, please, and stop wanking to a 14 year old’s boyhood idea of masculinity. Fact remains; you want to get your Nordic mythology nerdery and fleshy power metal yearnings satisfied all at once, yeah Wizard’s classic Odin (2003) and no further words are necessary.
Standout tracks: Kaunas Dagaz, To the Skies and Beyond