ANCESTRAL VOLKHVES – Perun Do Vas !!!

ANCESTRAL VOLKHVES – Perun Do Vas








Origin: Slovakia
Genre: Epic Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: SoundAge Productions
Year: 2008

Perun Do Vas !!!” is the second full-length album by this (unknown to most, I hope not for very long) Slovakian band. Ancestral Volkhves were formed in 2001 by Dod and Gamayun and the same year they released their demo “Going Towards the Gates of Mystery…” where they delivered some kind of raw pagan black metal. The demo was never distributed properly, since it was self-released… After some silence the band returned with its first official full-length “Son o Iriyi” that was released by KRV Records in 2005. This album was much improved, but then again it wasn’t something really exceptional.

So, I have to admit that when I got “Perun Do Vas !!!” in my hands, I wasn’t expecting something special from it. But I was very wrong! This album is brilliant and I realized I had to review it as soon as possible. From the very first moments it’s clear what it’s all about: fast pagan epic black metal, with the ideal balance between melody and aggression. There are no synths in this album, but their sound is still very full and solid, since guitar lines are bombastic. Even though everything seems very good already, a great surprise awaits in the 3rd song “Perun Do Vas!!!”. Masha from Arkona makes her guest appearance. Her clean female vocals are like always breathtaking and add a folk pagan touch to the songs she appears. She also sings on the 7th song “Slavorozhdenje” (a real folk pagan masterpiece) and on the 9th song “My Slavjane!!!” and she gives one of her best performances.

Guitar is the most dominant instrument in Ancestral Volkhves’ music, with very epic and melodic riffing. The tempo of the songs varies from mid to fast, but most of the time it’s fast. Actually the more slow and melodic songs are the ones with female vocals.  A lot of effort has been put on the compositions, something obvious in the result. The songs differ one from another, with interesting ideas inside them, each one with its own identity. Male vocals are mainly black metal screams full of rage and power (with a few clean parts) and the contrast with Masha is excellent. Unlike their previous works, this time all of the lyrics are in their native language and they deal with Slavonic myths and legends.

I recommend this album to all fans of pagan black metal. Also to all Arkona fans (even though it’s more heavy) since Masha is amazing. Most of Ancestral Volkhves members are also in other interesting bands from Slovakia, like Concubia Nocte and Karpathia. The only “negative” in my opinion in this release is its artwork, since it could have been much better to match the level of the music. You can listen with your own ears in their official pages below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.ancestralvolkhves.com
Ancestral Volkhves @ Facebook
Ancestral Volkhves @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

MYRKVAR – Als Een Woeste Horde

MYRKVAR – Als Een Woeste Horde








Origin: Netherlands
Genre: Folk Black Metal
Label: Shiver Records
Year: 2008

Myrkvar is another band from the Dutch folk metal scene that seems to flourish these days (Grimm, Heidevolk, Elexorien, Thronar. etc). Formed in 2003 they released two demos before their first album is complete. Now they signed in Shiver Records to release their “Als Een Woeste Horde” debut CD.

Their music is folk black metal and they are very good at it… Black metal guitars and vocals meet folk instruments in a bizarre mix. The production is ok (not perfect or “polished”) and this is something that gives them a very personal sound. The ideas on the folk tunes are very innovative and some of the best I’ve ever heard! They are very original and they don’t sound like many “clone” bands that come around these days. The tempo isn’t very fast and their black metal not too extreme. There is variety in their music; other times metal riffs dominate the music and other times kick-ass folk melodies take the leading role. They have a personal sound and a somehow “primitive” and “amateur” approach that works just perfect! In my opinion in traditional folk music all you need is the right “feeling” and not skill perfection. And since I like this album very much I hope their sound is not a matter of budget and I wish they will remain this way in the future. Unluckily there are many bands that lost their originality after improving their production…

If you like pagan folk black metal and want bands that sound original and have a true respect on traditional music and a different approach on folk elements in metal, I totally recommend Myrkvar. You can get a taste of their music on the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.myrkvar.nl
Myrkvar @ Facebook
Myrkvar @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

FEJD – Storm

FEJD – Storm








Origin: Sweden
Genre: Folk Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Year: 2009

At the end of March Napalm Records will release the debut album of this Swedish folk band. Fejd begun in 2001 by Rimmerfors brothers and it took them 8 years to compose a full-length album. In the mid time they made 2 demos and the self-released the EP “Eld” in 2006, which obviously got Napalm’s attention.

Fejd use traditional Nordic instruments and melodies and they offer us an hour of beautiful acoustic folk Swedish music. Even though they don’t use electric guitars, they have a “metal” feeling in their sound, since their compositions have a heavier approach than the typical folk music and they also use drums. Bouzouki, Swedish bagpipe, Jew’s harp, hurdy-gurdie, cow antler, recorder, willow-pipe, moraharpa (keyed fiddler) are some of the instruments they use in order to create the unique orchestrations of their songs. All of the lyrics are in Swedish and the amazing clean male vocals are in my opinion the strong “card” in this album. Rimmerfors brothers sing with passion and their vocals are sometimes very expressive and calm and other times a bit more aggressive (but nothing too extreme). In a few songs they also use very nice female vocals, adding a more tranquil feeling to their music.

The result of “Storm” is very atmospheric, combining the beautiful and sad melodies of Nordic folk music and the epic heaviness of metal. It is a very honest effort and if you like this music you shouldn’t ignore them. They are not the first band that invented this genre, since many others in the past have tried to marry folk music with a heavier metal sound (Otyg, Lumsk, and others). Even though they remind the aforementioned bands (especially if you are not familiar with this genre), Fejd have something different to offer and you can check their music at the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.fejd.se
Fejd @ Facebook
Fejd @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

KIVIMETSÄN DRUIDI – Shadowheart

KIVIMETSÄN DRUIDI – Shadowheart








Origin: Finland
Genre: Folk Metal Symphonic Metal
Label: Century Media
Year: 2008

Sometimes it’s easy to tell a band can make great things. I’ve happened to watch Kivimetsän Druidi since their demos and I was surprised by their quality and I was wondering what are they waiting for in order to release a full-length. So when I learned that they signed in Century Media, it was no surprise for me.

The band comes from Finland and it was formed in 2002 by the Koskinen brothers. Their very well produced demos contained songs of symphonic extreme metal with many folk and black (in the vocals) metal elements. Even though their sound is a bit more mainstream now, they are still playing symphonic metal with extreme metal elements, but the folk elements are reduced. The very good female vocals of Leeni-Maria Hovila, who is their new singer, have the leading role in the songs and they are combined with male screams. Keyboards are also very dominant in their music playing most of their melodies, while the guitars have mainly a secondary role.

There is great variety in the songs ranging from symphonic and extreme metal, to ballads and acoustic parts, with many changes in the songs. Technically the album is very good, since production and the quality of sound are almost perfect. 6 of the songs are re-recordings of 3 of their demos, so someone could call it a kind of “best of”. Now that the band seems to have found a solid line-up and a more balanced sound, I expect something even better and more solid from them in the future…

For me it sounds something between Nightwish and Moonsorrow (less epic though). So if you like these bands, or symphonic Finnish metal in general, you should check them. Except for the normal version, the CD comes also in limited digipak format with 2 bonus tracks (containing one cover on The Gathering’s “Leaves”). You can visit their official pages for samples.

 dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.kivimetsandruidi.com
Kivimetsän Druidi @ Facebook
Kivimetsän Druidi @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

SVAFNIR – The Heathen Chapters

SVAFNIR – The Heathen Chapters








Origin: Germany
Genre: Folk Acoustic Pagan Black Metal
Label: Galgenstrang Produktionen
Year: 2008

Svafnir is a one-man band from Germany. Alexander Suplie does everything in this project that exists from 2004. After two demos and two self released mini albums “Pfad des Nebels” in 2006 and “Aufbruch” in 2007, their first officially distributed full-length “The Heathen Chapters” is released by Galgenstrang Produktionen.

“The Heathen Chapters” contains the complete album “Aufbruch” re-mastered (the 7 first songs) and 5 new songs. Svafnir’s music in “Aufbruch” is mainly acoustic folk, based totally on guitars and whispered vocals. There are also a few pagan black metal parts in 2 songs, where the acoustic guitars are mixed with electric ones and screaming vocals (not very good to be fair, neither the clean nor the black ones). I like these two songs though and I believe that with a better production and vocals Svafnir can create excellent pagan black metal. In the 5 new songs all black metal influences are gone and the music is totally acoustic, with the addition though of some electric guitars. After listening many times to this album I definitely got into it… Its simplicity is enchanting, showing honest, true and inspired intentions behind it. There is a pagan nostalgic atmosphere in their music and a relaxing tranquil feeling, like when you are sitting under the forest trees and listen to the sounds of nature.

Svafnir’s first album and demos were pagan black metal, but “The Heathen Chapters” has a different approach. I don’t know what Alexander will do in the future, but I have to admit that his acoustic guitars are some of the best I‘ve listened in a long period of time and his melodies are magical. So I hope he will continue mixing pagan metal and acoustic music like in “Aufbruch”, since he is good in both styles and variety works always better for me. This band came totally out of nowhere, but I believe they deserve your attention. The CD is released with a beautifully illustrated booklet.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
-

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

COR SCORPII – Monument

COR SCORPII – Monument








Origin: Norway
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Label: Descent Productions
Year: 2008

After the death of Valfar some members of Windir formed Vreid, a band that had nothing to do with Windir’s unique Viking black metal. Some of them though formed this much more unknown band, that tries to continue Valfar’s legacy, being in the same genre. Do they manage it?

The band was formed in 2004 and next year they released their first 4-track sold out demo that left many promises. And now they strike back with their debut full-length “Monument”. The album begins with a classical piece in the background, like it’s been played from a used and half-ruined vinyl. And after one minute the main song begins! YES. This is music! Windir are back. Amazing guitar lines based on classical music and folk tunes, with unparalleled composing brilliance! This album continues where “Arntor” ended, Windir’s best work in my opinion. The sound of Cor Scorpii is much more solid and the production excellent. Guitars have by far the leading role, while keyboards help the melodies and add a lot in the construction of this “full” sound. Thomas S. Øvstedal’s screams are very passionate and expressive, fitting perfectly the music, while there are also a few clean vocals by a guest vocalist, that I would prefer to be more… Maybe next time.

All of the songs are very melodic, yet fierce and full of power, especially in the parts with singing. I never expected something that good in this “Sognametal” genre, even though I hoped for it! For me it is better than the last 2 Windir albums, but since words usually don’t mean much, you better take a look on their official pages and let the music speak.

dimiarch

Rating:  (10/10)

Links:
http://www.corscorpii.net
Cor Scorpii @ Facebook
Cor Scorpii @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

JANVS – Vega

JANVS – Vega








Origin: Italy
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Label: ATMF Aeternitas Tenebrarum Music Foundation
Year: 2008

Janvs is another amazing band coming from the Italian black metal scene. They were formed in 2003 and in 2004 they released “Nigredo”, a very limited and quickly sold out album (only 88 copies), but it was in 2007 when they released their first widely spread album “Fvlgvres” by the Italian label ATMF. It was a surprisingly good work of excellent emotional black metal with a great inspiration in dark melancholic melodies.

“Vega” is their new work and my personal favorite of the band. They took the term melodic black metal a step forward. Their dark, sorrowful, esoteric music cannot of course be contained inside the term black metal. The band experiments in many other genres too: doom, progressive, acoustic, rock and amazing clean male vocals are only few of the elements of this musical achievement. Passionate guitars with an excellent production change from electric to acoustic and black metal outbursts are followed by enchanting melancholic slower melodies. This is a very “progressive” album that you never get bored, since you can’t expect what is coming next!

All of Janvs’ members participate also in other Italian bands, which explains their great musical skills. Apart from it, what is most amazing in this work is the compositions of the songs, being at the same time complex (in the essence) and simple (in the result). I mean that despite the so many genres and changes in their songwriting, the final sound is very solid and pleasant to listen, without becoming boring, or tiring. Their inspiration was at very high levels on “Vega” with an excellent sense for sad and depressive melody, reaching its peak on the same titled 6th song! Band’s singer (Matteo “Vinctor” Barelli) made a remarkable performance in the whole album (and especially in this song, with the help of a guest singer Riccardo Morello). All of the lyrics are in the beautiful Italian language and there are translations in the booklet.

If you are open minded when it comes to melodic black metal, you can’t ignore Janvs – it’s a one-way road to adore them! “Vega” is one of my personal favorites of 2008 (stuck on my player for a long time) and I highly recommend it. The cd comes with a beautiful artistically booklet, fitting the band’s sound. In their myspace page you can listen to songs of both their last two albums.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.janvs.it
Janvs @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

TROLLFEST – Villanden

TROLLFEST – Villanden








Origin: Norway
Genre: Folk Extreme Metal
Label: Twilight Vertrieb
Year: 2008

“These Norwegians are crazy…” like Obelix would say! This is the third album from this weird band that exists from 2003. Those of you who have listened to their debut “Willkommen Folk Tell Drekka Fest!” in 2005 or “Brakebein” in 2006, might think you expect what you will listen in this album. NOT!

Trollfest’s music was always folk black metal with very fast riffs, extreme vocals and happy, drinking, troll, folk melodies. They sounded like a faster and more “funny” version of Finntroll, using the characteristic Norwegian traditional instruments, accordion, whistles, etc. But this time they decided to change their influences. This group of drunken trolls left the middle-earth battles and together with their grenade-like duck (!! see artwork) decided to travel to the Balkan and Middle-Eastern lands. From the very beginning they mix their humppa metal with Balkan and oriental melodies in a very unique result! Whether you see this effort as a parody of the folk scene, or as a “serious” effort, Trollfest are undoubtedly very good at what they do!

They have managed to merge traditional eastern music with their black metal, by using oriental scales in their guitar lines, together with local folk instruments. They are definitely very skillful musicians and their sound is crystal clear. They still use very aggressive black vocals, as well as some choirs in the refrains. They have also maintained their personal sound, even though they totally changed their folk music’s origin. Their orchestrations are really very rich and it’s really too hard to count how many different instruments they use! Unluckily they have invented a weird language of their own, so the lyrics aren’t understandable, but I bet they must be amusing…

Overall “Villanden”is a very enjoyable album (I captured myself too many times smiling with pleasure when listening to their songs), composed under the influence of gallons of beer. Sometimes they sound like a super extreme version of Emir Kusturica’s music. Their cd is released by Twilight Vertrieb, and except from the hilarious cover artwork, the booklet comes with some very weird retro photo collage of the band members (I shouldn’t forget to mention that they include a photo of ducks in every page of this collage)! If you don’t take metal always too seriously and you are interested in happy troll metal, you should definitely check Trollfest, because their music is actually very good!

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
www.trollfest.com
Trollfest @ Myspace
Trollfest @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews