Struggles to hold a listener’s attention

Metal is a universal language, we all know that right? So why was I so intrigued to hear of a Brazilian band that plays Viking Metal? The themes of bands like Bathory or modern masters of the genre Amon Amarth. Why wasn’t I intrigued, and why hadn’t heard of this band before now were the real questions I was asking myself, though.

Opening with Ragnarök the mid paced keyboard heavy traditional/power metal that instantly confronts the listener is not what was expected when the musical tag is Viking Metal, carrying with it a very distinct musical flavour closer to the likes of Sabaton than anything that generally gains the attention of the Viking hordes.

This is not necessarily a bad thing: musically Armored Dawn are absolutely on point, even more so when the keyboards are almost silent, allowing the music to have solid crunch and drive.  When used correctly such as on the title track Zombie Viking, the keyboard embellishments are great.  The same track is also a fine example of the album’s big sticking point — the layered vocal approach.  I am sure that vocalist Eduardo Parras could hold his own without the help.  His vocals are individual enough that it took a couple of spins of the album to get them.

There is something about all of this that makes it just feel bland.  Repeated listening fails to make it any better, although the struggle is real as to what makes it so disagreeable. It has everything needed to make up a decent metal album, but struggles to really hold the listener’s attention.  The lyrics really struggle to gain any traction. That is a huge part of most people’s musical experience; even fanciful lyrics have to hit the right spot. Sadly that moment never comes.

Viking Zombie just leaves a numb spot, kind of like a dead arm. The pain only lasts a short while before you laugh for some inexplicable reason, and even worse, go back for another taste because you weren’t sure what happened the first time.

  1. Ragnarök
  2. Animal Uncaged
  3. Zombie Viking
  4. Fire In Flames
  5. The Eyes of the Wolves
  6. Face to Face
  7. Drowning
  8. Heads are Rolling
  9. Blood on Blood
  10. Embrace the Silence
  11. Rain on Fire
  12. Skydiver of the Light
  13. Ragnarök (Unplugged)
  14. Animal Uncaged (Live)