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SUBDUER - review
(May 01, 2018)

HIMINBJØRG
HIMINBJØRG
Europa
(Adipocere Records)
51:58min

This is my first encounter with this French band, even if I do know their name and their flattering reputation for years. As usual in this case, I can't comment on their evolution (or lack of) with time passing by. Rumoured to be a "Pagan Metal" band since day one, HIMINBJØRG play a hybridized form of Black Metal (riff wise) on "Europa", well served by a crystal-clear production. The Pagan concept lies only in the lyrics, no trace of Folklore or fake medievalism here, good point. The vocals are the weakest link on this, an average clear voice alternating with regular Black Metal shrieks tainted with Attila Csihar / Abbath - like mannerisms. The ambitions of the band for producing daring and unusual music (how commendable could they appear) don't suffice in the end because certain monotony comes to settle in after a while. This music lacks passion and may sound a little too cold for comfort. Make no mistake: "Europa" is a top quality album despite its flaws. Some tracks show a lot of interesting factors ('Yon' for instance evokes first-era EMPEROR but with highly original interludes to spice up the things), and the musicians are excellent. Classic Black Metal rises its ugly head on some occasions in this disc, like on 'The Law Of Worship' (my personal favourite, with its haunting refrain) always mixed with Heavy Metal elements in the melody department. To sum it up, "Europa" could appeal to fans of IMMORTAL ("At The Heart Of Winter" era) and maybe OPETH (for the delicacy of the arrangements) or pure Black Metal period ULVER. Try to listen to this to form your own judgement; maybe I missed something of importance regarding this album since I can't connect emotionally with it, be it in a positive or a negative way. www.himinbjorg.fr.st

Edouard Vergriete

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