Monday, August 8, 2016
Sojourner : "Empires of Ash"
We haven't had any folk metal in some time. This came out back in May. The New Zealand metal band starts off with a big epic Summoning type sound. These guys are good at what they do, the problem with what they do is the next thing I knew I was in the second song. There was very little that kept it from sounding like the first song until the tempo changed three minutes in. There is a flute that plays very similar folk melodies around all the storming metal galloping around it. The vocals have a dry mid-range snarl to them. "Aeons of Valor" is not a drastic turn in terms of dynamics, but manages to define it self as an individual song a little better than the previous song. The folk ballad the "Pale Host" which features female vocals feels more like an interlude than a song that is part of this album. It is well sung for what it is.
"Homeward" finds the band blasting back into the metal. They have more of black metal feel with a thick coating of the folk atmosphere slathered over it. "Trails of the Earth" has more double bass to it's gallop and a little more ebb and flow in terms of dynamics, but like most of these songs it stays within the same spectrum of metal.The twelve minute closing song finds more groove injected into what these guys do and works really well, but doesn't really pull me into their world. Nothing is wrong with this album, I think the band made the record they wanted, it however brings nothing new to the mix that I have not heard before.
If you miss Summoning and want something folky yet powerful, not too upbeat or bogged down with singing elves then this album is certainly worth a listen. I am going to give it a 7 as like I said before it doesn't bring anything really original to the table which is what I am looking for when it comes to this sort of thing otherwise I can just go listen to all those Summoning albums I already own.