Folk metal is a very overcrowded genre with many sub-genres. Folk black metal is one of them, counting many bands, some great, some good and many crap… And if by the term folk black metal you get a taste about what you are going to listen to, Aiumeen Basoa is a totally different case! This Basque band was formed in 1994, but they only released a split album “Triarchy of Vasconia” in 2001 with Adhur and Ilbeltz. When I found out they had just released a new album, I got it as soon as possible, especially after reading some praising reviews! Of course I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to listen…
“Iraganeko Bide Malkartsutik” is a very diverse work. It may sound a bit strange at first, since the band explores many different music genres, but the more you listen to it the more addicted you become! So now, after many listenings I can surely say this is one of the best releases of folk metal in general this year! The band has done an amazing work and they must have spent countless hours to complete their compositions! I believe the better way to see this work is as a progressive pagan metal album with many folk elements and some extreme metal influences. They are really not afraid to experiment with many folk instruments and many changes in their music style, from black metal, to progressive metal, acoustic music, folk, ethnic, rock, even jazz! What impressed me the most is the variety of vocal styles and their excellent quality. Oihane’s female vocals are totally breathtaking and she is amazing both in metal/rock singing and in folk vocals! Clean male vocals are also great and the screaming ones, even if they sound somehow strange for their music at the beginning, you kind of get used to them after a while… Maybe it’s the amazing power of their extreme metal outbursts that make them sound ok. Anyway, their extreme vocals need improvement and more “depth” in my opinion.
They all are great musicians and all instruments are skillfully performed. Guitars, drums, violins, accordion, flutes and synths are merged in harmonic balance. The production is good, but it’s one of the few things in this album that I’d like them to change. I think that compared to the quality and complexity of their music, the production is somehow “flat”. Anyway, it’s just a detail that can be improved in the future and help their music sound more solid and powerful. There are many parts in this album, mainly the instrumental and folk ones that Aiumeen Basoa leave you speechless with their compositions! And then comes the raw power of their black metal “attacks” combined with unique native folk melodies to complete their masterpiece and leave you totally dazzled! All of their lyrics are written in “Euskara” or “Basque” tongue (a 4000 years old language!!) dealing with Basque mythology and folklore, as well as nature / pagan inspired themes.
I wanted to review this album a long time now, but it was so difficult to find the right words to write about it. Aiumeen Basoa managed to compose a very complex and totally personal album, reminding no other band, something almost unbelievable these days. Two of their songs “Jentil Odola” and “Aintzinako Guduen Oroimenak” are probably the best I’ve listened this year in general! I recommend this album to every open minded listener. It is released by the Spanish label Erzsebet Records and you better check this amazing band
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos