Genre: Folk Black Metal Pagan Black Metal Viking Metal
Label: Self Released
I can’t say that I am a big fan of compilations. Most of them contain one or two decent songs and the rest are crap. They also are too general, without focusing on a specific genre, but mainly promoting a label’s material. But MetalMessage is a totally different case and that’s the main reason I review it. Markus Eck, who is also behind the webzine MetalMessage, has done a respectful work gathering 13 songs from bands all over the world that share the same passion for pagan Viking folk black metal and he offers them to us in a beautifully illustrated CD.
Most of the bands presented in this cd aren’t well known to the masses, some trying to be more mainstream, while others are underground. Let’s take a closer look to all the bands and their songs in this compilation. First song comes from Fimbulvet. They are from Germany and the play melodic epic pagan metal with great clean vocals influenced by Menhir. “Helias Bann” is from their second full-length album “Der Ruf in Goldene Hallen” in 2008, their best work so far. The second song “Slava” is from the Slovakian band Hromovlad and it is exclusive for this compilation. Hromovlad play folk black metal with a raw and underground sound, using some traditional instruments. Next track is “Kochevonov Plyas” coming from the same titled EP of the Russian progressive folk metallers Tumulus. They play a unique mixture of progressive metal with Russian lyrics and traditional instruments and they have just released their third full-length “Vedai”. Dark Forest from Canada is the fourth band presented in this compilation. “Journey to Ever-Eternal Skies” is from their debut album from 2006 “Aurora Borealis”. This one man’s band plays epic mid tempo black metal with pagan nature inspired lyrics. Their debut was very good and now they have a new album prepared, ready to be released. Fifth song comes from the Brazilian band Tiwaz. They play typical epic pagan metal and the song “The Battlelore” comes from their demo “The Rune of Victory” from 2003. Their music is war / battle oriented and they combine brutal vocals with epic clean ones under a raw, but powerful sound. They have also released a full-length album in 2005, but since then nothing. The next song “Im Auge des Sturms” comes from Dyrathor‘s demo “Memories in Frost”. This German pagan metal band combines black death metal with folk violins and they have just released their debut album “Sacred Walcraft of Hel”, where they sound much more mature and improved. The seventh band is Xerión and they come from Spain. The song “No Pazo Derruido Da Existencia” is from their debut “Nocturnal Misantropia” in 2007. The band was formed in 2001 and they have released many demos and split albums. They have a raw underground sound with melodic black metal riffs and a pagan mood. The band has just released its second album “Cantares das Loitas Esquecidas”. The next song comes from one of my favorite bands in epic folk black metal genre (especially their first 3 works), Adorned Brood. “Sons Of The Damned“ comes from their sixth album “Noor” in 2008. Their music was taking a more heavy metal approach in their last releases, but this album reminds more of their previous folk black metal era, with nice flutes, powerful riffs and combination of brutal / clean vocals. I hope their next album “Hammerfest” that will be released in a few days will be again at this style. Ninth track comes from the Irish cult folk black metallers Waylander. After seven years of absence they returned in 2008 with their third album “Honour Amongst Chaos” where the song “As the Deities Clash” comes from. Folk black metal with Celtic tunes and instruments is what Waylander offer to us and they are very good at this. This work is much closer to their impressive debut and has nothing to do with their “weird” second album. Natan is the tenth band featured in this compilation and their song “Volkskracht” is from their debut album “Het Zicht Van De Dood” in 2008. They come from Belgium and the play very melodic black metal with folk influences, having a very solid sound and one of the best songs in this compilation (in my opinion). The eleventh song comes from the German epic pagan metal band Andras. Their fifth album “Iron Way” was released in 2008 and the very good song “Miasma Track” comes from this work. They play melodic epic black metal with amazing clean vocals and their new album “Warlord” is about to be released. The next song “Nach Asgard wir Reiten” comes also from Germany and the band Obscurity. It’s from their fourth album “Várar” that was released in 2009. They play very powerful and well-produced pagan epic black/death metal and they will soon release their next work “Tenkterra”. The thirteenth and last song comes from Vinternatt, a Belgian band that unfortunately split-up after releasing only the demo “Yggdrasil” in 2006. The song “De Zwarte Mis” is exclusive for this compilation and the band plays folk black metal with violins that dominate their sound. It’s a very interesting song with unusual structure and a personal style. An improvement in their production was needed though…
Overall this compilation is a very good work that puts together many great bands, covering a great range of the epic pagan folk black metal genre (my favorite genre by the way). If you like these genres, but you have only listened to more mainstream bands, this is a great way to explore some less known, but definitely worth listening groups. The album is released in a blue DVD case containing a 32-page booklet with cover artwork illustrated by Ed Repka! and nature photos by Markus Eck. My only wish is that it contained more exclusive songs, to make it more appealing to those who know the bands, or those that will prefer to check them from the web. You can find more info about this great release in the webzine in the “sample” area.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos