A New Approach to Black Metal: A Review of Karmanjaka’s Latest EP, ‘Hugin’

Inspired by Nordic Fantasy fiction, find out how the Swedish band have captured a new take on the Black Metal Genre.

Back with their first EP following the release of their debut album, Seven Names For The Witchqueen, Swedish band, Karmanjaka, have returned with their most notable release to date.

Released earlier this year, the band’s latest EP, Hugin, has captured a unique approach to the Black Metal genre- encompassing their distinctive sound more eloquently than ever before.

Inspired by Nordic fantasy fiction, Hugin continuously provides the perfect escape from reality throughout the course of just four songs. Blending their thunderous, heavy sound with new-found folk influences, the final product captured throughout the EP seems to do more than demonstrate the band’s refinement over time, it showcases them discovering a unique sound, distinctive to them.

Opening with the track, ‘Age Of Fire’, the band immediately demand that audiences stop in their tracks as the musical and rhythmic approach to Black Metal kicks in.

More progressive in its structure than many albums of the same genre, the sound of the opening track appears to delve into classic metal alongside the signature, thunderous vocals of frontman, Skallagrim. With the upbeat, high energy of the powerful opening riff, slight hints of the classic 80s metal era begin to seep into the track, giving the EP a more unique sound than previous releases. 

Tracks, ‘Raven Wings’ and ‘Fornjotś Call’ all follow a relatively similar premise- holding Karmanjaka’s signature sound intrinsically close to their chest, whilst still experimenting with the ‘Golden-Age’ of metal. 

Maintaining a notably straightforward, simple structure throughout, it is these tracks that offer a gateway for metal lovers across the globe into the world of Black Metal. Drawing brief parallels to metal legends such as Pantera, Iron Maiden and Trivium throughout these two songs, Karmanjaka prove that they are more than their Black Metal label- able to captivate a wide range of audiences with their songwriting ability.

Whilst we may mention the simplicity of the tracks, this by no means implies that Hugin doesn’t pack a punch throughout the release. In fact, the contrary remains true. Captivating any metal lover at the drop of a hat with the immense opening riffs, it is these simple and highly effective instrumental sections that show Karmanjaka as a force to be reckoned with. 

Not relying on overbearing, technically-complex instrumental elements in order to capture an audience’s attention, it is with this latest release that Karmanjaka have encompassed their own sound in a more refined way than ever before, standing out from every other band currently on the scene.

Finally, to mention the penultimate track on Hugin, ‘Eitr’. Arguably the track that stands out the most from the others on the EP, there is something about ‘Eitr’ that hints that Karmanjaka’s current sound has only just begun to scratch the surface of what is yet to come.

Opting for a much more immense and gritty sound than the tracks prior, the opening of ‘Eitr’ alludes to the same technical-precision and intense virtuosity of the Gojira album, The Way Of All Flesh

From the eruption of force in the opening riff to the haunting, yet stunning melodic sections, the refined sound demonstrated here is one that we hope to see more of throughout Karmanjaka’s future releases. From the Opeth-inspired elegance of the instrumentals during the chorus, simultaneously paired with the unwavering force of the vocals, it is this new emotion-orientated approach to their sound that truly allows the EP to shine. 

As to the EP as a whole? It is safe to assume that the album is destined to satisfy various types of metalheads across the globe.

Merging a unique approach to Black Metal alongside influences from more mainstream bands through the duration, Hugin provides the perfect escape from reality and generates a genuine curiosity as to what the future holds installed for Karmanjaka.



Hugin is out now and available on all major streaming platforms. 

To keep up to date with Karmanjaka, check out the links below.



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