The Ukraine seems like an odd place for a group of Viking warriors, but Mykolaiv’s Miellnir emerge from the mountains with their ten-track debut album, Incineration Astern.
After a brief instrumental opener, Prey marches forward at a slow, steady pace. There are some definite callbacks to bands like Ensiferum here, but the music is much more mid-tempo with a fair amount of blackened elements.
Legends of the Fallen starts out with a galloping guitar riff, but after thirty-five seconds, turns into a slow-tempo adventure tale that speeds back up towards the end.
Things get even more confusing with the third song, Stand Against, which opens up with a crushing doom sound followed by some grindcore/brutal death-style pig squeals. After which, it shifts back to the slower, growled narration with occasional squeals for… accent purposes, I guess? It’s a doomy, sinister number, but the grindcore/BDM vocals seem an odd choice.
Miellnir tread into more traditional folk metal territory when they hit the sixth track, Ugar Buhlo. Seeming out of place with the rest of the album, we’re treated to some accordion and a bouncy rhythm as-yet-unseen. It’s a good track, but it seems dramatically out of place with the rest of Incineration Astern.
The remaining four songs are marked as “bonus tracks” and follow the pattern established by the first two songs, staying in the mid- to slow-tempo range. Miellnir definitely seem more interested in building atmosphere than energy, and that alone sets them apart from other Viking-themed folk metal bands out there. I’m not sure if this was intended originally as a six-track EP with the four tracks added on as an afterthought.
The majority of the songs last between four and six minutes, with only Stand Against exceeding that at 6:15, so none of these songs overstay their welcome. However, the slower tempo and lack of “folkiness” is probably going to turn off some fans of this subgenre.
Overall, this album is well-played, although I’m not sure how much replay it’s going to get with no real stand-out tracks and the inconsistent song structures. That said, it’s a solid effort for a first album, and Miellnir look to have a bright future ahead of them.
Special thanks to Transcending Obscurity PR for the complementary review copy.