It was 2007 when Pagan Reign, one of the best Russian folk pagan black metal bands, decided to split-up. The loss is great, but at least two of its members (Vetrodar and Demosthen) formed a new band Tverd, that is ready to take Pagan Reign’s place in our hearts.
Even though Tverd’s sound is very close to Pagan Reign’s there are also many differences. The overall sound of the guitars and the rich orchestration full of folk instruments (pipes, flutes, reeds, whistles, zhaleyka, domra, mandolin and authentic percussion) reminds a lot of Pagan Reign. The big difference is in the vocals though, where Tverd’s main vocalists are academic opera singers (Alexandr Ivanov & Svetlana Lebedeva). There are also few black metal screams left, but only in a couple of songs. These songs are excellent and I believe their combination of extreme and clean vocals is amazing, so I wish they will use them again, hopefully more extensively, in their future works. Generally Tverd is like a lighter version of Pagan Reign with more emphasis on melody.
All of the compositions are very good, with excellent folk tunes and scales, while the operatic vocals work perfectly! They have of course a more folk approach than classic opera singing and sometimes the female vocals become totally traditional! No need to mention that both singers are very good, unlike Pagan Reign’s clean vocals in their older works… All the lyrics are in Russian and they display their deep regard for their nation, history, culture and native Slavonic beliefs. There is no room for melancholy and sadness in their folk metal, but only pride and a very “positive” feeling, full of life, energy and “pagan” mood. This is reflected also in the colorful 24-page booklet with amazing paintings of Slavonic traditional, fantasy and epic themes. Everything is really well played and the production perfect!
I am very pleased with Vetrodar’s decision to form Tverd and I hope they will release many more albums. This is a very original and interesting band, that deserves the attention at least of all folk metal fans. You should visit their official pages and find more about this great band.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos