King of Asgard is a 21st century Swedish metal band formed by ex-Mithotyn members Karl Beckmann (guitar/vocals) and Karsten Larsson (drums). Their ever-evolving sound oscillates between harsh and evocative Nordic blackness and captivating, epic folk melodies, forcefully expressed through melodic death, black and Viking metal. Their lyrical topics and visuals often relate to legends in their homeland's sagas and Norse myths, with a penchant for nearly epic-length storytelling. Their debut long-player, 2010's Fi'mbulvintr, was celebrated for its athletic musicianship, physicality, and intricate folk-metal tendencies amid shifting tempos and harsh black metal vocals. 2012's To North showcased even heavier Viking metal with more riffing and less variation in tempo. 2014's Karg was marked by midtempo and slow songs with pronounced grooves and complex arrangements. After Larsson's departure in 2015, the band signed to Trollmusic. They issued the six-track EP :taudr: in 2017, and followed it with the darker, edgier, harsher, full-length Svartrviðr in 2021.
King of Asgard grew out of founders and former Mithotyn members Karl Beckmann's (guitar/vocals) and Karsten Larsson's (drums) obsession with discovering a true hybrid of Viking metal's more punishing death metal approach and the moodier, darker, folk-inflected harshness of black metal. The duo released the demo Prince of Maerings in 2009 to acclaim from the metal press. Bassist Jonas Albrektsson was recruited in the aftermath and the band signed to Metal Blade. Although their sound never quite veered completely into the more medieval waters of folk metal, the influence of the past left its mark on the band's epic and brutal sound. King of Asgard made their full-length debut in 2010 with Fi'mbulvintr to universal critical acclaim. Recorded and co-produced by Andy La Rocque, it showcased their intricate, complex songwriting skills and a deep knowledge of Northern European folk music and styles amid shifting tempos and blackened power metal riffing. Before touring they added guitarist Lars Tängmark to the lineup. Two years later, the quartet's To North extended that approach while adding defined grooves and streamlined tempo shifts to their attack.
King of Asgard's third album -- and last for Metal Blade -- the bleak and powerful Karg, was released in July of 2014. Reviews claimed the band perfectly melded power metal ambitions to blackened folk roots, whether propelled by raging blastbeats or slower-paced, chugging grooves. After touring the European festival circuit and headlining their own shows across the continent, Larsson and Tängmark left the band and were replaced by drummer Mathias Westman and Ted Sjulmark.
This second incarnation of King of Asgard issued 2017's :taudr: EP for the Swedish label Trollmusic. Recorded and mixed by Magnus (Devo) Andersson at Endarker Studios, the five-song, 33-minute set showcased the band using cleaner vocals, relying more on hooks and Westman's innovative polyrhythmic palette to focus more on melody and less on riffs. The quartet hit the road just before release and stayed on tour for nearly two years with occasional breaks. Upon returning home, they recorded their fifth long-player Svartrviðr. Andersson again engineered, and this time produced, the set at Endarker Studio. The eight-track, hour-long album doubled down on the approach they utilized on :taudr: while expanding the band's textural palette to include more backing vocals and overdubbed riffs. They also uncharacteristically closed the set with two instrumentals. Svartrviðr was issued by Trollmusic in May of 2021.
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