If there’s anything to complain about Tales, the new album from Swedish metallers Night Crowned, it’s that they’ve tried to cover too much ground on the record. Actually even that isn’t really a complaint, because everything on the album is done to a very high standard, merely an observation that an album that features straight up slabs of ‘the gothenburg sound’, melodic black metal, folk metal… and then even throws in a wall of gothic church organs on the title track (actually they make a few guest appearances, might leave people a bit giddy trying to get a handle on it all…
Still, I’m told people don’t really listen to albums in the ‘traditional’ way any more, and thus, if you approach this record in the ‘modern’ way, just picking out individual tracks, and appreciating solely what’s put in front of you at any given moment well… you won’t have any quibbles at all.
De Namnlösa, which features Jens Rydén of Thyrfing, makes for a vicious opener, a top notch slice of violent, uncompromising metal, and it’s followed by She Comes at Night, a folk-soaked black metal assault embellished by some spine-tingling vocal accompaniment from Sadauk/Disdained chanteuse Therése Thomsson. Both tracks are high impact in nature and very enjoyable, and, this high quality hallmark continues right through all eight tracks. You’ll select your own favourites according to taste, of course, and even if I am concerned about the variety on display here, it’s hard to see anyone who turns up to listen to this album actively being horrified by any of the twists and turns taken by the band. Probably.
For this reviewer it’s the out and out metal that makes most appeal, and the violence of Loviatar, leavened by melodic vocals and superb guitar playing, that stands out as the album’s best track. If you’re a fool for the Gothenburg sound, then this is for you. But there’s plenty here to choose from, and I think the band are going to make quite a few new friends with this album.
Tales releases on November 10th.