Månegarm, first known as Antikrist (for a very short time), is a Swedish Viking/pagan metal band that started up in Norrtälje, Sweden, in the end of 1995. Being one of the first bands to incorporate traditional instruments like violin and flute but also female vocals in the music, Månegarm is a pioneer and one of the longest lasting band in its genre. After releasing two demos; ”Vargaresa” (1996) and “Ur Nattvindar” (1997) Månegarm signed a deal with the Dutch label Displeased Records. The first album “Nordstjärnans tidsålder” was recorded and mixed in the famous Sunlight Studios (Entombed, Dismember) with Tomas Skogsberg and the album was released in the summer of 1998. One year later the second album was about to be recorded when problems with the studio, record label and singer put a stop to the recording for some months. After changing recording studio and vocalist the second album “Havets Vargar” was finally released in June 2000. In 2003 Månegarm released their third full-length album “Dödsfärd” which meant an increase of the band popularity but also a different sound in some ways. The music had gone from a black metal oriented sound to a groovier and more “folky” sound where the folk music melodies with the violin up front came to play a bigger part in the music.
In 2004 “Vargaresa – The beginning” which is no other than a compilation of their first two demos was released.
In 2005 the fourth full-length album “Vredens Tid” was released, recorded in Underground studios just as the previous two albums, and it got really good reviews from fans and press all over the world. In 28th of June 2006 Månegarm released an acoustic EP called “Urminnes Hävd-the forest sessions”. This “special” album was something that the band had wanted to do for many, many years and finally this dream was realized. The music that can be heard on “Urminnes Hävd” is nothing like the regular Månegarm stuff because this time the music only contained traditional instruments such as acoustic guitars, violin, flute, cow drums, jewsharp, choirs and clean male & female vocals.
In 2006 Månegarm did their first European tour together with Skyforger and Goddess of Desire for two weeks and they also ended their collaboration with Displeased Records. A new deal was later on signed with the Swedish metal label Black Lodge and in May 2007 the new album “Vargstenen” was released, the bands fifth full-length album. Once again the album was recorded, mixed and produced in Studio Underground with the help of Pelle Säther and once again Kris Verwimp painted the amazing cover art. Besides from great reviews, “Vargstenen” entered the Swedish national album chart at its release.
In 2008 Månegarm toured Europe with the Heidenfest Tour together with well-known acts as Primordial, Eluveitie, Equilibrium, Finntroll and Catamenia. The tour was a huge success and the 17 gigs were visited by approximately 20 000 crazy metal heathens from all over Europe.
In 2008 Månegarm also ended their collaboration with Black Lodge and signed on to the Swedish metal record label Regain Records. The songs for the new album was already written and arranged so Månegarm set off to (by now the very familiar) Studio Underground and Pelle Säther to record the new masterpiece. The new album, “Nattväsen” (night creatures) was released on Regain Records the 19th of November 2009 and contains loads of great pagan metal, as always performed with the traditional Månegarm touch. The biggest change this year was anyhow that Jacob Hallegren took the place as the bands new drummer since the band wanted Erik to do the vocals only.
In 2010 Månegarm played a couple of really great European festivals; Metal fest Open Air, Kaltenbach Open Air, Party San and Summer Breeze and the band also performed in Canada for the first time at the metal fest Noctis IV in Calgary. 2010 also included a line-up change as the bassist Pierre W had to leave the band. Erik took over as bass player which was the easiest and most satisfying solution, so once again Månegarm was back to being a five-piece band.
In 2011 Månegarm joined the Neck breakers ball Tour together with Kataklysm, Legion of the damned, Equilibrium and Milking the goat machine. 24 European cities were visited between 14th of January to 6th of February and the tour turned out really great. After tons of problems with the record label Månegarm left Regain records and luckily got in contact with Napalm Records from Austria. A deal was made in late 2011 and we can only say that we’re very exited and encouraged as we enter this new collaboration and we’re certain that this will mean a big improvement for Månegarm as a band.
In mid April 2012 violin player Janne Liljekvist suddenly decides to leave the band. Since the work with the new material already was in progress and running smoother than ever the band had decided not to look for a new violin player, at least not for back then. Have no doubts though; the Månegarm sound would remain intact and with the help of friends the “violin issue” was solved on the next album.
At the end of June/beginning of July 2013 (dates vary depending on territory) they released a new album,“Legions of the North”, through Napalm Records.
In 2015 the band celebrated its 20th anniversary with the release of an eponymous album and a show in Stockholm for the occasion; with Ellinor Videfors who also sings on this album, and their friends Ereb Altor and King of Asgard.
“Nattväsen” is remastered in 2016, followed by the first six albums (except “Vargstenen”). The 22th of November, the guitarist and co-founder of Månegarm, Jonas Almquist, leaves the band due to health problems. Martin Björklund (violin, guitar) and Tobias Rydsheim (guitar – Wormwood) will take part in the next gigs.
Månegarm participated in the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise for the first time in February 2017.
In January 2018, the band Grimner released “Fafnersbane” with Erik Grawsiö as featuring singer. For their part, Månegarm members will be release their next album “FORNALDARSAGOR” (Ancient Saga) on April 26, 2019. The texts should be mostly in Swedish and are based on various parts and scenes from several ancient sagas. This will be followed by a release party on April 27 at the Stockholm Slaughter, then there will be the first Månegarm Open Air in August 2019.
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This weekend I had the chance to go to my first festival of the year, the Cernunnos Pagan Fest at the « Ferme du Buisson » […]