The Flight of Sleipnir's fourth album, Saga, is aptly named. Over the course of nearly an hour's worth of music, the songs tell an epic story of a sea voyage, a ship wreck, capture by the enemy, imprisonment, and death. In the hands of lesser bands, this could be just another cookie-cutter mythology album, but The Flight of Sleipnir manages to make this old story sound fresh and new again.
Part of their success is certainly due to the tightness of the songwriting. There are no fillers, no pointless interstitial tracks slotted in between the songs. There are some soundtrack touches--the sound of a campfire here, the creaking of snow beneath someone's feet there--but they never overstay their welcome. They add just a bit of atmosphere without making the listener want to skip past them to get back to the real music.
The band's wide-ranging use of different genres and sounds also helps make this such an engaging listen. There are some black metal shrieks, but there's also plenty of clean singing and pretty harmonies. There is plenty of distorted guitar, but there are also acoustic guitar and clean electric guitar lines weaving in and out of each other. It's not black metal, or folk metal, or blackened folk, or really any other subgenre I could name. It's a blend that's uniquely the band's own, and more amazingly, they manage to use all the disparate elements without sounding like two or three bands sharing a split, which is no mean feat. I liked this so much that I even bought the limited edition CD, which almost put me in trouble with the boss. He threatened to take my company car away, but when I explained that I bought the Bandcamp release to hold me over until the physical product shipped, I was back in his good graces again.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]