REBELLION — Wyrd Bið Ful Aræd – The History of the Saxons (review)

REBELLION — Wyrd Bið Ful Aræd – The History of the Saxons album cover Album · 2015 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Wyrd Bið Ful Aræd – The History of the Saxons (2015) is the seventh full-length album by German power/heavy metal act Rebellion. The album continues the band's trend of making history themed concept albums; having already tackled the Vikings in a trilogy and the Romans on their previous effort Arminius: Furor Teutonicus (2012).

In many ways Wyrd Bið Ful Aræd is typical Rebellion but one thing I like about this band is that every release tends to have its own identity from the previous one. You had the debut album Shakespeare's Macbeth - A Tragedy in Steel (2002), a quite theatrical release rife with narration (admittedly not its strongest feature), which was followed by Born a Rebel (2003), their only non-concept album. Then there was the Viking Trilogy; Sagas of Iceland (2005), Miklagard (2007) and Arise: From Ginnungagap to Ragnarök (2009), each of them distinct from each other. If anything the shock exit of founder Uwe Lulis (who recently joined the legendary Accept) along with two other members of the band only serve to keep the band's music fresh with comeback Arminius: Furor Teutonicus. Wyrd Bið Ful Aræd is no exception to this trend; Rebellion are so far one of a rare breed of bands that have never disappointed me.

Though always at the more aggressive end of the power metal spectrum, I actually think that Wyrd Bið Ful Aræd is one of Rebellion's most aggressive releases yet. It's not quite up to the level of Arise: From Ginnungagap to Ragnarök, which is massively aggressive for a power metal album even by German standards, but it's close. The music is semi-thrashy in places even, but as always it's the voice of Michael Seifert that really gives the band their edge in a genre that is usually characterised by crystal clear voices. His voice is about as aggressive as a metal vocalist can get before going into death growls, though he's very capable of singing totally cleanly too. The band's riffs on the album do seem to diverge from the usual power metal standards more often this time, so it's probably not wrong to say that Wyrd Bið Ful Aræd draws elements from both the European and US power metal styles. Some might mistake this as a more heavy metal orientated offering from Rebellion, but I think this might be just a bit too heavy to honestly say it's a 'traditional' heavy metal album. But it oozes power in every department, and that's what power metal should always be about in my mind.

As is usual for a Rebellion album the songs maintain a high standard from start to finish. The use of narration in God of Mercy may initially set off a few warning bells as Shakespeare's Macbeth - A Tragedy in Steel's least interesting feature is instantly recalled, but fortunately it's just a feature of the one particular track and not something that recurs across the whole release as with the debut, something that actually makes the narration more effective and is an excellent track overall. A true early highlight for me though is the catchy Take to the Sea, which is one of the more typical European power metal style tracks on the album. The style harks backs to the Miklagard album to my ears, which coincidentally is my favourite release from Rebellion. The track the band used to promote the album before it was released directly follows. Hengist is quite different in style to Take to the Sea but no less addictive with it's equally catchy chorus. I'm also quite fond of the closing title track. It's an album though where I find it highly likely that every listener will have different favourites; the quality is consistent and each song flows well with the next to create an album that is very easy to listen to in a single sitting. I've come to expect nothing less of Rebellion.

Rebellion started life as a new band of a couple of former Grave Digger members and their music has always been in the same niche of power metal yet as much as I like the other band too and especially loved their quite recent Return of the Reaper (2014) album I can't help thinking with each new Rebellion album that they've long usurped Grave Digger as the kings of this kind of power metal sound. Well, at least in my mind anyway, I'm sure that Grave Digger remains the more popular artist. It's my hope that more people start waking up to Rebellion though. Wyrd Bið Ful Aræd is another excellent offering in their catalogue; high quality power metal with balls. 4.5 stars.
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