Tuesday, August 26, 2014
We recently started D&D nights on Sunday at our house, and of course the fitting soundtrack is to put Last Fm on "folk metal" radio. Last night my girlfriend rediscovered this band, so I decided to give their latest album a shot. It's much more symphonic than I expected almost like Night Wish without the female vocals. The Folk metal scale tends to be very major and happy so that is one thing the genre normally has going against it for me.
These ale swigging Germans have been pumping out this sort of thing since 2001. They know what they are doing and all the songs flow very smoothly. The 3rd song "Karawane" is the first song on the album that strikes me as being heavy, the frolicking is in full effect early on. The first two songs employ things like speedy almost power metal like gallops and growled vocals, the rousing clean vocals are sparser than expected. They do join in on the chorus like movements. The Celtic like instrumentation rolls along the same lines as the Night Wish riffs. Composition is one of this band's strong suits as the songs are relativly catchy and pieced together in almost movements, so the chorus are more like a dynamic melody that swings in rather than the typical arrangement.
Some of the album's happier moments would annoy me if I wasn't at Dragon Con.From time they dip into a more rock n roll, at others they are more symphonic death metal, so there is a lot going on here. Some of the more progressive elements offset the happy vibe and take it to a more Jethro Tull place. "Freiflug" is another of the album's strong points, it is epic but still has some balls and aggression it, while not forsaking melody. However "Heavy Chill" defaults back into the more power metal mode.
"Wirtshaus Gaudi" brings the heavy back, surprisingly in the days where everything is trying to be black something or another, they do not , instead as the album moves forward the delve in quirky bits of gypsy polka.There are some moments when they hit all the same classic ride into battle glory moments all the other bands of this ilk indulge in, but their song writing generally sets them apart. The seems to be key as "Wellengang" works in the context in which is is used , by taking what could have been a power ballad melody and chugging over it.
They do take more twists and turns on "Apokalypse", which is one of the album's heavier moments.They close on a proggy note with "Unknown Episode" and it's very 80's sounding keyboards.The vocals get even more guttural to offset this with mixed results.Overall I enjoyed this album for what it is, not sure how much mileage aside from Dragon Con I will get out of this , but if this sort of high fanstasy metal is your thing round it up from the 8 I am giving it to a 9.