There is something about dragons that resonates with the word ‘epic.’ Anytime you see a dragon, you know something big is about to go down. It could be when you are playing a game of Skyrim, while you are walking in Whiterun and suddenly the ground starts to shake, the music intensifies, and the people of the town go into panic mode. The dragon appears and starts to light people on fire, pick up guards and subsequently drop them while in the air. Even Disney knows that dragons are creatures of epic proportions. Everyone remembers watching Sleeping Beauty as a kid and everyone can remember the climax of the movie when the Prince battles the dragon on top of the castle. Siegewyrm’s debut album, “Legends of the Oathsworn,” tries to recreate these scenarios with mixed results.
It is obvious from the start that the guys in Siegewyrm like dragons: there is a dragon on the album cover and the -wyrm part of their name means dragon at its furthest evolution. The band’s style and sound is easily comparable to Amon Amarth so there is where the epic melodic death metal comes into play. The band also throws in some other aspects that make them stand out in that they have a down-tempo sound, a heavier sound, and they have some clean vocals mixed in as well.
Unlike a usual melodic death metal band, there are not a lot of songs on this album that is going to make you start windmill head-banging or that is going to start a circle pit when played live. The songs go along a slow-moving pace. The same kind of pattern shows up many times in the album and it gets very sluggish after a while. There are some fast-paced songs however, with songs like “Bloodlust,” “Early Morning,” and “Path of Discovery.” Not only are the faster-paced songs more interactive but they are the more memorable songs on the album, which is a shame that there is so few of them. This album also feels more heavier than any other melodic death metal album as the guitars are just absolutely crushing. The guitars almost have this murky, sludge-y tone to them. It feels that there is some death core influence to Siegewyrm as some of the riffs are more chuggy than melodic and there is a few breakdowns in this. It is a small influence but it is noticeable and the combination of styles is a fresh twist to the genre. The album seems to be split into three different parts, as the first third of the album shows off the heavier, deathcore influenced side. The second part is the more progressive side of the album where the clean vocals really start to show up. The last couple of songs on the album are the more typical melodic death metal, head-banging songs. I prefer the last four songs on the album as the riffs and pace pick up tremendously and in turn, make the songs more memorable.
The vocals are what you would come to expect from a melodic death metal band, deep and brooding lows to shrieking highs. Just like Amon Amarth, it creates this feeling of putting you into the knight armor and fighting the dragon. Now the big variation is the inclusion if clean vocals on the album. These vocals are very hit or miss as at times they sound great, especially if the music is complimenting them well. Other times, they sound off and totally out of place. The clean vocals sound great in songs like “Early Morning” and “Unnatural,” where they sound Mastodon-like. In contrast, the vocals are poor in songs like “Cauterized” and “Price You Pay.”
“Legends of the Oathsworn” is a very hit or miss album. Some parts are very likable, but there are some parts that are very skippable. The album is decent enough to listen through a couple of times and it is name your price on the band’s Bandcamp so it is worth a download. This album was released last year and they have another album coming in early 2014 so hopefully the band can capitalize on the good parts of this album so they can make their next album truly one to remember.