ILBELTZ – Auskan Gabiltz Olatun Gainian (1598 Potrobizargorri I)

ILBELTZ – Auskan Gabiltz Olatun Gainian

Origin: Spain
Genre: Folk Black Metal Folk Pagan Metal
Label: Self Released
Year: 2010

The debut album of Ilbeltz is finally out. This band from Basque Country isn’t new at all! It exists from 1995 and if the name reminds something to some of you, it is because Ilbeltz participated in the 3-way split “Triarchy of Vasconia” in 2001, together with Aiumeen Basoa and Adhur. Until the release of the split the band was very active with gigs, but after that they stopped. In the meantime they composed some songs and now in 2010 they finally released their first full-length album.

Auskan Gabiltz Olatun Gainian – We’re Struggling on the Waves” can be described as folk pagan metal, but it definitely isn’t the typical album of the genre! There are 5 songs, all of them over 12 minutes long, while the album lasts for 69 minutes. The band explores many different sounds and each song contains many genres. They move from black, heavy and power metal, to folk, Celtic and traditional native Basque acoustic music, even with some renaissance references. The band has a raw sound, paying more attention to create a “real” and live feeling, rather than a perfectly “polished” studio album. This works for them since the nature of their music allows it, but I have to admit that some acoustic instruments could be played a little better… It is very difficult to recognize any particular structures in the compositions and the band seems to improvise; no bridges, refrains or catchy parts to repeat… Even if there are many changes inside the songs, they somehow manage to retain the same folk Basque atmosphere throughout the whole album.

Their lyrics are in their native language, but there are translations in the booklet. They are based on the novel “Xenda bi ez Duk Lizentzi” written by the band’s mastermind Ibai Mendinueta, who also composed all the music and it deals with an epic story that takes place in the 16th century. These tales about conquering and adventures related to the seas are perfectly portrayed on their music that speaks on its own even if you can’t understand the lyrics! Of course this alone says a lot about the work behind this album! The extended use of traditional instruments helps the band to build this unique atmosphere, as well as the use of their unusual native language in a very “folk” way. Some of the melodies are actually based on authentic 16th century traditional songs and they help the band to transfer us back in time! I would also like to comment the clean vocals that are very expressive and with a very personal touch.

Overall I would say the Ilbeltz is a very special band that fans of folk metal in general must definitely check. Even if they are mostly described as folk pagan black metal band, their black elements aren’t that dominant. Most of the time they play folk metal (mainly power) and acoustic folk music. I think they could have a better sound, but I have to recognize that they created a very personal album and I am really looking forward for their next step! The level of the album is very good, but there are some moments that are really excellent! So I am hoping (and expecting) that they can make something better and more solid in the future. You can visit their myspace or Facebook pages to listen to their music and contact the band if you want to buy “Auskan Gabiltz Olatun Gainian.


Rating:  (8,5/10)

Ilbeltz @ Facebook
Ilbeltz @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos


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