Released: Dece, Self Released
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Durothar, from Hamburg in Germany have been around for a while, since 2009 or so I am told, and I have even heard that they once played a more melodic Pagan type of metal, but be that as it may this is their first release. Auf See (At Sea) maybe not be too far removed from what they once played, and keeps the whole Nordic Viking thing under its fairly hefty and no doubt blood stained banner well.
The Lyrics are in German, but the song titles give a fair enough idea as to where each axe wielding sea faring coast raiding little ditty is headed. To surmise the associated blurb that accompanied this piece, it's all about journeys to foreign countries, big battles, the dangers of the open ocean and the joy of a safe return, preferably by the sound of this album with a bag fool of loot and a bag full of ones enemies heads.
This is powerful stuff, Mittwinter (Mid Winter?) chugging along nicely with a section that almost makes you feel a part of the crew on this voyage singing along with drinking horn in hand and beard flying in the wind. The guitar tone is like an old friend, familiar and yet engaging as the drums pound away and Markus the vocalist gives it his all, his death grunt towards the end would no doubt give Tom G Warrior a good run for his money. Splendid indeed.
Heimathafen (Home Safe) continues in the same vein, familiarity abounds along with a great sense of drama and melody, Auf See again rolling along the waves nicely into the excellent Mann Uber Bord (Man Over Board - who'd of thunk it). The mid section of this song being an absolute belter, Markus does not strictly adhere to the one tone for his vocal work, and the band are far better for it. Definitely a standout track.
Onwards we travel to Die Vogelinsel (The Bird Island), complete with Seagulls and more mid paced brutality, perfect music for a trip to the coast of some far off land with the intent of ruining the locals peaceful existence, and in keeping with the whole sea faring thing Das Fremde Land (The Foreign Country) keeps the whole album moving along nicely. Ein Fest, I had a really hard time trying to translate this one, ups the tempo a little, a cracking song guaranteed to get the blood (of your enemies) flowing nicely.
Ah the bonus track - Im Bauch des Drachen (In The Belly Of The Dragon) is to me the highlight of this album. Galloping guitars combined with melodic solo work and exceptional drumming, Markus vocal delivery following the music to perfection. Almost Maidenesque in parts, ends this album in the best possible way, and digs into your skull like some sort of Viking Tree Borer.
For a band that has been around for some length of time, Durothar have certainly delivered with their first release, the struggles have been well worth it, and more than likely contributed to the strength of this album. I have used the word familiarity once or twice because comparisons will be drawn, but to compare and brush this aside would be folly of the highest form. Don your horned helm and drink much friends, for this album is surely worthy!