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Before Apraxia turned all "grr I are evil nazi" - 75%

Skullhammer, October 7th, 2006

Surprisingly, I found this to be a quite enjoyable album. Yes there are problems with the production, yes the clean vocals are annoying at first, and yes you can barely hear the rhythm guitar but this doesn't make the album crap like the previous reviewer suggested. This is a pretty good pagan black metal with a lot of folk influence.

The production is slightly flawed. Unfortunately the rhythm guitar is barely audible and bass is pretty much non-existent. You hear a raw buzzing sound in the background. Whether its amp fuzz or the rhythm guitar can only be answered by blasting your speakers really loud to find out that it is indeed the rhythm guitar. But unfortunately, I don't want to become deaf by blasting Apraxia all the way up because everything else is high in the mix. The drums are very loud and prominent. They're very tight and straightforward and almost sound like a drum machine so expect a very clean drum sound.

The lead guitar playing is very nice and mostly folk sounding. It's also very high in the mix. It's higher than the drums and the vocals. The lead guitar is very memorable in In The Deep Dark Forest, Vampire's Castle, and Son of Kelagast where the lead guitar plays the largest role in the entire song and carries the song very nicely. Synths are used from time to time and sound wonderful as well and actually fairly well placed in the mix.

The vocals are pretty much the standard black metal rasping affair. However, for some odd reason they decided to throw in, from time to time, clean vocals as well. You will without doubt hate these clean vocals the first time you hear them because they simply sound atrocious. But hey, I know very few people who instantly fell in love with Quorthon's voice on Hammerheart. It takes some getting used to.

Pagan is the best track on this album in my opinion. It's extremely catchy. The keyboard is playing a very simple, yet catchy folk tune. The drums come in; playing a funky beat and song continues to progress with the end result being a very simple yet extremely catchy and great song. The clean vocals actually work perfectly here.

The lyrics throughout the album are mostly in broken English. This is obvious since the track Barbarian Hords From The North is spelled incorrectly. There are, however, a few songs sung in their native tongue (I think 2 or 3, I don't exactly remember).

No, this album isn't anything magnificent, new, or unique. Expect nothing original. But just because an album suffers from poor mixing and lacks a good understanding of the English language (they're Belarusian for crying out loud) doesn't mean this is shit. Maybe I'm just a sucker for anything having to do with Slavic paganism, but I did enjoy this release. To me, this was an enjoyable album that I listen to from time to time...