Album: Wings of Fire
Label: Ranka Kustannus
Brymir has been on our radar for quite a long time now, but it’s kept slipping down my list of bands to check out. After seeing them at Tuska and Dark River Festival in 2019 and having enjoyed them so thoroughly, we decided we’d give a belated listen to their new album, Wings of Fire, which came out on March 8th, 2019.
[ed: this review has been backdated from 12.2019]
Listen along on Spotify:
The album begins with “Gloria in Regum,” a rather powerful and diverse opener, and a strong kick of energy to grasp the listener’s attention. The vocals are strong and balanced, harsh but not trailing into the really intense black metal screams. The title track, “Wings of Fire,” has really great guitar solos and a surprisingly emotive Gregorian-like vocal choir; I personally often find chant-choirs alone to be too dull, but this album does not suffer from that flaw. It also takes a few turns to keep the beat from getting stale, ultimately making it a really fantastic single.
“Ride On, Spirit” has some really nice acoustic parts and the chorus is very Viking/folk metal. It’s a very pagan, chanty sort of song with strong melodies, though isn’t one of the most exciting songs on the album. “Sphere of Halcyon” takes a new direction with its exciting and climactic build-up. The verses are a bit too hardcore for my taste with the blast-beats, but the energetic build-up in the chorus keeps it on track. The keyboards get a bit of the spotlight in the beginning of “And So We Age,” and the crisp growls manage to be fairly easy to understand, allowing the intriguing lyrics to stand out.
“Hails from the Edge” is a great, upbeat, and heavy piece that’s good for rocking out, pounding a fist, just blasting on the road. “Starportal” is pretty harsh, with a rather black metal intro and some tasteful machine-gun blasts throughout the song. “Vanquish the Night” slows down with some haunting pianos to begin, followed by some shockingly dark vocals and very gentle-epic backing symphonics. “Lament of the Ravenous” begins with a simple, gentle guitar melody, adding in echoes and effects. It picks up into what feels like an emotional, passionate piece, given strength by the strong compositions building it up.
“Chasing the Skyline” has a catchy melody, as well as a classic heavy metal pushed backed by nice guitar-work, and a rather power metal solo. The album then ends with the cinematically powerful “Anew,” featuring Noora Louhimo [Battle Beast]. Louhimo is at the lead of the choir and the vocals and her voice is perhaps put to its best use this year in this song.
What I might personally appreciate the most is that Brymir pushes it to the limits without really going too far. They take what they want from pagan/folk metal, melodic death metal, black metal, symphonic metal… really whatever they want, but the blend never gets too harsh or too cheesy, or too thrashy. The music has a very clear ebb and flow that prevents the “more is more” problem that I tend to find in bands like Epica. As one element is used in the music, a few others might pull back to allow it room to breathe. This results in an album that manages to be dynamic and powerful, as well as balanced.
Rating: 9/10 4.5 stars
1. Gloria in Regum
2. Wings of Fire
3. Ride On, Spirit
4. Sphere of Halcyon
5. And So We Age
6. Hails from the Edge
8. Vanquish the Night
9. Lament of the Ravenous
10. Chasing the Skyline
11. Anew (ft. Noora Louhimo)