The Flight of Sleipnir - V (Napalm Records)

More fun than an eight legged horse...
Release Date: 
28 Nov 2014 - 12:30am

Despite V being the fifth album from hard working duo Clayton Cushman and David Csicsely, the band shows no sign of easing up with their large-scale compositions that are based on Scandinavian literature and/or mythology. From the gentle picked introduction to Headwinds, one is immediately struck by Sleipnir's grand vision. A dapple of cymbal and a hushed, murmured vocal lets you know that you should sink back a little deeper into the cushions and enjoy this soothing balm (particularly after the intense period of black metal that I've just had). But then the tune gets a bit chunkier and (have I become obsessed from all the noir metal?) a shrieking vocal slips in. It's a bit like Mountain's Nantucket Sleighride but bigger and heavier. I'm also enjoying the roaming solos on the guitar and keyboard. Chunky prog-folk, anyone?

It's hard to dissect this album into indiviudual pieces, and despite the similarity in structure, each song has its own identity. Take Sidereal Course with it's watery wah-wah intro and an almost tidal surging vocal; it implores you to join the band in a woodland glade or something...but then the heavier side creeps in, almost unnoticed, and what started out as a mellow dance around the Maypole has suddenly degenerated into a bloody sacrifice. I like it a lot. Again, The Casting starts with thick, fuzzy guitars and muffled drums before the despairing wails of the black metal vocal come screeching in and then you're suddenly doused in all this regal soloing. Each track seems to swing between the twin poles of mellow and heavy. The slow pick intro on Nothing Stands Obscured reiterates the band's stance; they love the mellow juxtaposed against a screaming, heavy section - as do I.

This album comes to me as a bit of (almost) light relief after some of the more intense stuff that I've been listening to of late but it's got enough dark and doomy goodness to balance the lighter folky elements - and the almost progressive meanderings are another delight to be had as you let yourself sink lower and lower into soft and velvety pillows. Dreamy.