FENRIR — Loki's Slaughter (review)

FENRIR — Loki's Slaughter album cover Album · 2016 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Loki's Slaughter (2016) is the debut full-length album by Australian metal act Fenrir. At the time of writing this review the band's future actually looks a bit unclear as they've recently parted way with vocalist Duncan Therkildsen Jones, the last founding member of the band, leaving them with no original members, though drummer George Delinicolis does play on all their actual releases. The band are searching for a new vocalist so evidently they intend to continue, though whether it will be as Fenrir or another name (which may not be a bad idea for them, as Fenrir is a rather overused band name – there are at least seven metal bands alone who have used it, two of which are also active and have produced full-lengths prior to this Fenrir) remains to be seen. They have mentioned that their 'overall style of music will change' though.

That may end up being a shame, as on Loki's Slaughter Fenrir have produced a great debut album with an interesting blend of sounds that I'd certainly like to hear more of. Despite presenting an image in their promotional pictures that it would be easy to think them a folk metal band from and while they do indeed use folk on the album it's more for flavour. They instead treat their listeners to an assault of power/speed metal with a tendency to turn into thrash metal every so often as well, as happens in the title track and Berserker. The folk bits, in the form of a flute played by Duncan Therkildsen Jones, do however play a crucial role in making Fenrir's sound what it is, but mostly these guys show themselves to be all about the metal. Fast metal to be precise. A blend of power, speed and thrash certainly does cover all the bases on that front.

The songs mostly deal with Norse mythology and flow pretty well together. The only real blip in the album is towards the end in the form of Heavy Fucking Metal, whose name alone should tell you how glaringly obviously out of place it is when other tracks bear names like Onwards to Jotunheim, Freyr's Despair or Odin's Retribution. It seems like it ought to be a bonus track but it doesn't look like it is. For me it really does disrupt the flow of the album, especially the mythological atmosphere the band have built up, as it seems like it's something of a joke song – one that never should have been included on the album. Don't get me wrong here though, musically it's actually pretty sound speed metal, it's just completely out of context lyrically. It's fortunate for Fenrir that the strengths of Loki's Slaughter by far outweigh the damage this one track does to it. The title track is a particular highlight for me with the way it shows off all the different aspects of Fenrir's sound: the folksy flutes, the melodic power/speed metal onslaught and a bit of outright thrash metal as well.

Fenrir have produced a solid debut album in Loki's Slaughter and I can only hope that the departure of Duncan Therkildsen Jones ultimately doesn't affect their music too much, as I find their genre mix a bit more unique compared to the sound of most power metal debut albums I listen to. It would be a shame if they leave where this sort of thing could go next unexplored.
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