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One of the best black metal albums ever! - 90%

jaimeviejo, May 27th, 2013

Basque black-metal is not at all a stupid idea. The genre, which has always been linked together with the relationship between man and nature, has a lot of points in common with the geography of this area in the North of Spain: a land full of evoking scenery and traditions that serve as the perfect inspiration for a Folk black-metal band.

In 2001, the split “Triarchy of Vasconia” was published; It contained music from the Basque bands Adhur, Aiumeen Basoa and Iltbeltz. That was an excellent album to show the world how good pagan folk metal from this northern Iberian region was at the time, but even before that a good number of black metal bands were already coming from these vast lands, like Numen, another beast born and bred in the Basque country: a unique band that took the classic approach of Marduk but with a less polished production and a different vocal style that made them different for the hordes of uninspired black metal clones. The only survivor of all these bands is Aiumeen Basoa.

“Iraganeko Bide Malkartsutik” is a unique and beautifully crafted album that brings together the mystic of black metal with Basque folk music. This has obviously been done before by Norwegians, Finnish, and even now by the American one-man band Panopticon, mixing American folk music, bluegrass and black metal. What happens here, though, is that Basque folk music works wonders mixed with black metal. Instruments like txirula, oboe, piano, pandero and flauta travesera, add another dimension to the aggressiveness of black metal while complementing one another. The lyrics are in the Basque language, so there is no chance here to understand what they are saying. Although I guess they are related to nature, feelings, and folklore.

The orchestration is very good and the sound quality of it is just perfect. There are no casio keyboard tones here, just delicate and highly-skilled written symphonic parts. The vocals are the most generic part of the band and the album, but they are still good enough to fit the style of the band. The female vocals add a needed balance between the screams without being too overwhelming. The album was mastered by our friend Dan Swäno, and the result once again is stellar. Another highlight of the album is the magnificent and tasty drum work from Fory, who displays not only technicality but also an impressive control of dynamics.

The only flaw I can find in this album is that some of the rhythms and structures are at times a little bit repetitive. They need some more variation. Besides that little tiny “but” this is a magnificent folk black metal album that will probably be remembered as one of the best extreme albums ever released in Spain.

Written by Jaime Viejo for