Hammer Horde – Vinlander CD review

If you want a Viking metal band that are heavier than the hammer of Thor, more powerful than the mind blowing powers of Loki and who guzzle more ale than Alestorm having a drinking competition with Korpiklaani, then Ohio based folk metal band, Hammer Horde, have a brilliant new album out that blows their previous album Under the Mighty Oath completely out of the water. This is Vinlander – the amazing second full length album from these wannabe Vikings, an album which will have you eating out of Hammer Horde’s slightly large, manly hands the moment the first tracks kicks in. One thing is for certain……. Vikings are most definitely the most metal thing ever!

The best bit about this album is that Hammer Horde doesn’t follow the in crowd with the tracks on Vinlander. Traditionally Viking metal is about going all out brutal; both vocally and musically, as we hear in bands such as Enslaved and Amon Amarth’s music. Hammer Horde have tried to experiment with a mix of both harsh and mellow vocals in tracks such as ‘Infinite War Thirst’, ‘Hero’s Heart’ and ‘Oathkeeper’, pulling it off superbly, giving Vinlander a more epic and darker approach to normal Viking metal, as the soft, almost spoken word moments creep in over the demonic sounding vocals.

Vinlander is an album as a whole that sounds brilliant due to the fact that the production is not perfect on it. It gives the songs a dirtier and grinding sound to them, making them sound more like brutal death metal at points, rather than melodic folk metal. Tracks like the guitar soaring ‘Vinlander’, the battle charge like punch of ‘Archaic Offerings’ and the astounding anthem ‘Led By the Ancient Light’ are all extremely heavy musically, but that’s not due to down tuning or extra added distortion, it seems to be because the recording sounds a bit rough and tough at points, adding more sharpness to the album.

You can’t have a folk metal album without at least one acoustic track or moment on it. ‘Hoddmimir’s Holt’ is a brilliant acoustic guitar instrumental, which really adds peace and tranquillity to Vinlander, putting the cherry on the top off this brilliant album. The tone of the guitar if beautiful, ringing out powerfully, adding diversity and difference to this extremely heavy, charging album – if anything Vinlander could do with a few more acoustic tracks on it, but hey ho, who can complain when you have tracks like ‘Hymn of the Fjords’ on there!

This is Hammer Horde’s second album and it is clear that they know what they are doing. By the time Vinlander has finished, you will be begging for Hammer Horde’s next album to come out, and as it is clear from the brilliant songs on this record, anything by Hammer Horde will be amazing! [8/10]


About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.