Genre: Epic Black Metal Folk Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Self Released
Italian epic pagan black metal band Gotland from Torino, has just released its debut full-length album. The band was formed in 2007 and one year later they released their first EP “Gotland“. In 2010 they self released their second EP, entitled “Behind the Horizon“. Since their beginning, Gotland have undergone numerous line-up changes, something that has affected their sound. Finally, on February 15th 2014, they self-released their ambitious first full-length album “Gloria et Morte“.
The band took its name from the Swedish island Gotland, the largest island in the Baltic Sea. According to some historians, it was the original homeland of the Goths, from where they headed South, coming into contact with the Roman Empire. The main lyrical concept of the band is Italian history and in particular the meeting between these two different worlds: the populations that came from the far North and those which came from the Roman Empire, exploring the Nordic influence on the Italian territory. No other music genre could capture better the atmosphere of such a thematology, than epic pagan folk black metal! And that’s exactly what Gotland offer in their debut album. “Gloria et Morte” includes 10 songs, plus a cover on Windir’s “The Spiritlord“, with a total album playtime of almost 61 minutes. Their sound is quite variable and each composition has its personal identity, something very difficult and rare nowadays.
The base of their music is pagan black metal, where the relatively raw and aggressive sound of their guitar riffs is the most dominant element of their orchestrations, giving an old-school aesthetic to the whole result. The same goes for their vocals, since Víðarr sings mostly with brutal growls and screams. And while their guitars have a more rhythmic role, it’s their beautiful symphonic keyboard orchestrations that define their melodies. Gotland keep them in the background though, so that their sound loses nothing from its brutality, fitting perfectly with the album atmosphere. Some songs have a pure aggressive pagan black metal approach, others have influences from technical death metal in the guitars, others a more melodic epic symphonic touch, while a couple of them are more influenced by folk black metal, adding some acoustic traditional instruments too, like flutes, bouzouki and sitar. Epic choirs, acoustic passages, and soundtrack-like parts help the band build their beautiful atmosphere. Most of their lyrics are in English, but there are a couple of songs in Latin and one written in ancient Gutnish (old Norse dialect)!
“Gloria et Morte” is a very good work, an amazing effort for a self-released debut album, with a clear and powerful sound and a great production. Gotland experiment with various genres around epic pagan black metal and their album is quite variable and interesting. The whole lyrical concept and the way they present their songs in the detailed CD-booklet reveal that the band members take very seriously what they do, spending hours on historic studies and research! “Gloria et Morte” is self-released in a standard jewel-case CD including a 16-page booklet, with all the lyrics and the wonderful illustrations by Jean Pascal Fournier and Silvana Massa. You can visit their official pages below for more info and sound samples. Be sure to check on March 11th 2014 the official video clip for the song “Slaves ov the Empire“!