Brazilian epic folk metallers Hagbard from Juiz de Fora are back with their brand new EP entitled “Tales of Frost and Flames“. The band was formed in 2010 with the intention to combine folk music with various genres of metal. After the demo EP “Warrior’s Legacy“, Hagbard started working on their debut full-length album “Rise of the Sea King“, which was finally released via the Russian label SoundAge Productions in the end of 2013. In the beginning of 2015, and in particularly on February 7th, the band released the EP “Tales of Frost and Flames” in cooperation with the Brazilian labels Genocidio Records and Ihells Produções.
“Tales of Frost and Flames” is a short EP, including 4 songs plus an intro, with a total duration a little over 17 minutes. While the band moves in the same style with the previous album, there are also some significant changes in the details. Unlike their debut album, which was inspired by various cultures, folklore and mythologies, this new work is based exclusively on “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones). As a result it has a much more tight, solid and specific atmosphere compared to its predecessor. The band still plays epic folk metal, with symphonic and extreme metal elements, but the overall atmosphere is clearly more epic, dark and “serious” this time, while the folk tunes and instruments add a fantasy feeling to their music, rather than the happier dance mood of some parts of the previous album. Their sound and production are once again very good, with great technical guitars and epic synths in perfect harmony with each other. Acoustic guitars, epic piano passages, flutes and violins enrich their orchestrations, giving a really melodic touch to their music. Vocals range from black death growls to epic clean male vocals and few background choirs, all sang in English. Each song is quite catchy, with something different to tell, but my favorite one is “War for the Dawn“, the most epic composition of the album in my opinion.
With this EP, Hagbard maintain the high level of their debut album, adding a more epic atmosphere in their sound. I recommend this band to fans of epic folk blackened metal, especially to those who prefer the more melodic efforts of the genre. I will keep an eye open for their future releases, since they seem capable of great things. “Tales of Frost and Flames” is released in a beautiful digifile CD edition by Genocidio Records and Ihells Produções. The wonderful artwork is by Jobert Mello of Sledgehammer Graphix, who also illustrated their debut album. You can visit the band’s official pages below for more info and sound samples.