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please stop doing this, metal scene - 40%

Noktorn, May 10th, 2011

What exactly is the point of metal labels putting out folk records which metalheads don't listen to? Okay, I know that metalheads like to flatter themselves and insist that they really like stuff like folk, classical, ambient, etc., but the fact is, when you get down to it, we're all listening to metal for a reason. Actually, I don't know why I'm acting as though I don't know why Othal put this out when it's pretty clear: Othal's an NS label, Volkolak's an NS band, and for the NS scene, that's really the only necessary feature to get a release. It doesn't matter how bad, dumb, or inappropriate something is, if there's an appropriate amount of swastikas, by god you'll get a pro CD out in no time!

Volkolak apparently does actual metal on their other records, but this one is a pure folk release and is thus completely out of my sphere of knowledge. I don't listen to folk. I can hear folk and tell whether I like it or not, but I definitely can't compare this to anything or offer any particularly deep critique since I don't even know if these are original songs or reworkings of old Russian traditionals (though I'm leaning towards the former). It does sound extremely Russian: the guy doing the vocals does sound particularly angry and drunken even during the more relaxed moments of this release (on top of having a pretty obnoxious voice), and there's perpetually that one annoying folk instrument from Russia in the background- you know, the one from Nokturnal Mortum's shitty era that goes *BOIOIOING* and sounds like a sound effect from a Loony Tunes cartoon. Please don't email me the significance of this feature. It just sounds dumb.

For folk, this isn't particularly catchy, which I always thought was one of the things that made it folk music- you know, music made for the populace at large, like an oldschool Lady Gaga for you kids that don't remember acoustic guitars. To be honest, basically all the tracks on this album sound the same; they all operate off the same basic 6/8 rhythm and have no particular structural dynamics. Every track has essentially two melodies played on guitar and flute (which always echo each other) that repeat endlessly while a perplexingly angry Russian shouts over the top of everything. There's also some vague tom-and-cymbal drumming in the background which I'm pretty sure is programmed, which I find particularly funny.

This is nothing that I would ever listen to but at the same time I don't think I'm really qualified to say whether this is good folk or bad (but I'm pretty sure it's the latter). It's definitely not something you'll want to buy if you listen to other Volkolak albums or other releases that come out on Othal. However, if you really like very repetitive Russian folk music or really dislike Jews, this is probably a worthwhile investment.