Origin: Bulgaria
Genre: Folk Acoustic
Label: Ahnstern - Steinklang
Year: 2008

Svarrogh is a very complex and unique band formed in 2001 by the talented Bulgarian musician Dimo Dimov, who is also the only member of the band. He now lives in Germany, but his love for Bulgarian nature and traditions is obvious in his creations.

Svarrogh begun as a raw black metal band with some folk influences and released their first full length “Baxas Xebesheth 1883” in 2003. Later in 2004 they released their second work “Lady Vitosha” that had a more mainstream sound and Dimo experimented in some folk instruments. The same year miniCD “Bolgaryan Art” appeared and the band introduced a new interesting neofolk acoustic sound. In 2006 Svarrogh released “Kukeri”, an excellent example of pagan folk black metal with many Bulgarian and Balkan traditional instruments, all played by Dimo. This was the best album of Svarrogh in their folk black metal phase. After this album the sound of the band changed a lot and since then all their albums are released from Ahnstern! “Balkan Renaissance” and “Temple of the Sun”, both released in 2007, reveal a totally ambient neofolk ethno industrial face of the band, while all metal elements are vanished. And now in 2008 Svarrogh return with a new full-length album “Yer Su” that I expected it to be a continuation of their last steps, or not?!…

“Yer Su” is ritualistic ancient Bulgarian pagan music, a return to the minimalistic atmosphere of Balkan ancestors. Many traditional instruments like kaval, gaida, gadulka, mandoline, bells, ukelele, ocarinas, snow steps, accordeon, tanpur, tamboura, bagpipes, flutes and clarinets were used in “Yer Su” by the really “gifted” Dimo Dimov, while some guest members were also invited (from Defiles des Ames, Allerseelen and Negura Bunget). The pleasant surprise is that some electric guitars (even if totally in the background) and some extreme vocals are back again. The result is very original and unique; unlike anything you’ve heard before and unlike anything Svarrogh have done so far. I believe it’s their best effort in this marriage of ritual Balkan music with elements of extreme metal, getting very close to the primordial essence of this music. Of course don’t expect to listen to black metal with this release. It’s like “Balkan Renaissance”, just with some extreme metal touches and better (in my opinion) compositions.

The vocals are mainly incantations, and except for the guitars and the folk instruments there are also many nature, ambient and industrial sounds, in a very variable result. Lyrics deal with surrealism and folkloric symbolism in Bulgarian mythology. It’s like a tapestry of ancient Bulgarian landscapes, villages, habits and a whole almost forgotten pagan culture unfolding before your eyes for almost 80 minutes! You can travel to older times and almost smell the forests, the mountains, the lakes, the farms and the old towns…The cd is released in a beautiful digipak with excellent artwork and an amazing cover photo by the Bulgarian artist Haate Kaate.

“Yer Su” isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure! Many people who expect to listen to something in the style of their earlier works maybe won’t appreciate it. But if you are interested for quality ritual folkloric music and you are open in such musical experiments, you should check them and let them take you in their journey through time in magical Balkan lands.


Rating:  (9/10)

Svarrogh @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos


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