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XIV Dark Centuries is a pagan metal band from Germany. The genre pagan metal can be very varied and might contain many different musical aspects, but what the band has done here was basically giving the essence of this musical concept.
From riffing varying between black and folk metal to the moderate keyboard atmosphere and different layers of vocals and clean "hymns" and clear bassline and excellent drumming, this album is very balanced but leaning towards a more melodic feel.
The album contains 11 songs, and each one of them is a delight, but after a few listens some songs will grow on you more than the others.
Songs such as "Zeit der Rache", "Hinauf zum Gold'nen Tor" and "Eine Wanderung" give the album that extra kick, they are extremely well composed and arranged in a way that gave the whole album another dimension. They might probably be my favorite tracks on the album, each one of them is a well crafted masterpiece.
The production has certainly improved since their 2006 album "Skithingi" and of course the musical concepts and the atmosphere has shown extra determination to provide the listener with the best aural journey through heathen badassery.
The fans of instrumentals also will get their pants wet after listening to the stunning "Eichenhain"; An acoustic piece delivered in a perfect timing, it feels like taking a walk in the German black forests in autumn, It just fits perfectly in the whole mood of the album and a fine addition indeed.
This album is probably their best effort so far, it has a charming and profound feel, a bit cinematic at some point, and has some moments where you just need to grab a sword and rush to war! This one is a keeper and grower as well, all the fans of viking and folk music will adore it.