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Poland's Answer to Bathory - 92%

Iron_In_The_Fog, January 27th, 2006

1. War Wolf

"War Wolf" starts of with some marching drums and grunts from Darken, before straight in with some fast paced, double bass drumming and fast pace riffage. This track has a dark underlining it, mainly achieved by the use of keyboards by Darken. This track clocking in at just over 10 minutes doesn't get boring if you enjoy Graveland signature Pagan Metal sound, If you are new to Graveland you may find this track hard to get into. Around the 4:00 minute mark the atmosphere changes as Darken piles on the keyboard synth with female choirs very reminiscent of later Bathory. The drumbeat slows down, still double bass, but slower, until it picks up again around the 5-minute mark. Once again the atmosphere of the song changes back, as the song progresses it gets darker and you can hear it more prominently. This atmosphere carries on for about 3 minutes, which can get slightly tedious until he reverts back to the female choirs again and the change of atmosphere change follows. Around the 9:00 minute mark the song stops and the marching drums and grunts from the start of the track return but this time you can hear Darken chanting over it, the words however are indecipherable.

Overall I give this song a 7/10 I would of rated it higher but for 10 minutes this track doesn’t change much at all and can get slightly tedious.

2. River of Tears

"River of Tears" opens with some shrieking sounds and more female vocals as the song reaches the 0:40 mark the guitars come in with the female choirs creating a melody line over the slow doomy drums and guitars. The song picks up around the 1:20 mark and the drums create a very catchy rhythm over the fast pace riffage, as the song progresses it creates a very heavy wall of sound accompanied by the drums before changing around the 3:30 mark to the Graveland sound more reminiscent of "Creed of Iron." This carries on for a short while as the track develops Darken returns to the short doomy beginning and catchy fast paced riffs and drums. Around the 6:00 minute mark the whole feel of the song changes and gives of a very heroic sound, Darken giving off a much more later Bathory sound, very reminiscent of "Nordland 1 & 2" but in no way a clone.

Overall this song deserves a 9/10. This is song is one of the best on the album.

3. Fire Chariot of Destruction

"Fire Chariot of Destruction" jumps in once again fast paced double bass drumming and riffage, like "War Wolf" this track has a dark undertone to it but much more sinister sounding that "War Wolf" did. Around the 3:38 mark the drumming changes slightly for about 10 seconds before jumping back into fast paced double bass drumming. As the song carries on a very prominent guitar melody comes in at about 4:44 and rejuvenates the song as the atmosphere changes and the song you can really hear the wall of sound that Darken has created in this song.

Overall I give this a 5/10 because for 6 minutes there is only 1 tempo change in the whole song, this is song is tedious after the first 3 minutes. Probably one of the worst songs on the album.

4. Flaming Wrathful Hate

"Flaming Wrathful Hate" starts off with a fast paced hypnotic riff before the drums kick in with a drum roll, this atmosphere carries on for 2 minutes before changing tempo and the atmosphere of the song changes, throughout the song you can hear the synth, at times somewhat overpowering. At about 3:30 the drums stop and the hypnotic riffage and synth come back in and the drums start up once again, this song is not as up tempo as the other songs before it but still fast nonetheless. As the song draws to a close the atmosphere changes and becomes dark showing of once again the dark undertones of "Fire Chariot..." & "War Wolf."

Overall this song gets a 7/10 because even though at times I find myself getting bored with it, it has a unique sound to the rest of the material.

5. Creator and Destroyer

"Creator and Destroyer" starts with the sound of a battle horn, and this horn follows through the entire first half of the song giving off a very heroic sound with its melody and memorable vocals and guitar riffs. This song is or though it fits in nicely with the rest of the album is completely different in atmosphere and feel, 2:15 in to the song their is a tempo change as the guitars subside followed by a short guitar melody line, the drums kick back in and the guitars shine through with a catchy riff very reminiscent of 'The Fire Of Awakening' album. This carries on for about 2 minutes before the song kicks back up a gear and the fast paced riffs and drums come back followed by the battle horns. The riff changes into a slower catchier tune more in the vein of the ending section to "River of Tears."

Overall this track gets a 9/10. This along with "River of Tears" is one of the best songs on the album.

6. Prayer For My Ancestors

"Prayer For My Ancestors" comes in full swords blazing, fast drums, fast riffs, however what makes the beginning of this song different is that the keyboards overpower more than usual and create a different atmosphere altogether. At the 1:20 mark the atmosphere changes and gives off that trademark Graveland feel much in the same line as "Creator and Destroyer." This carries on for 4 minutes until the atmosphere becomes darker but a different kind of dark, the riffs although fast give off a heavier sound. Around the 5-minute mark the song changes and the atmosphere once again becomes more heroic sounding. As the end of the song closes in the keyboards become more prominent with a menacing male choir that follows the same melody as the riff.

Overall this track gets an 8/10 because it combines the dark undertones of the earlier tracks with the more heroic sections of the later songs.

7. Dance of Axes and Swords

"Dance of Axes and Swords" starts of with a mid tempo beginning and slightly different style of riffing this carries on for the first 1:10 before changing into a more full bodied riff style and heavier tone, giving off an heroic sound but a more menacing sound, this is then followed by fast paced double bass drumming and riffage with a solo melody over the top, the melodies and riffs change slightly over the next few minutes. Around the 3:30 mark the riffs take a turn and give off a sound once again of earlier Graveland i.e. "The Fire Of The Awakening/Creed Of Iron" period, before changing back to the fast paced riffs and drums once again. This carries on until 6:40 where the riffs change back to the atmosphere of early Graveland again before ending abruptly.

Overall this track gets 9/10 because it is one of the better tracks off the album.

8. Motherland

Now we come to "Motherland" the final track, the track only clocking in at 6:48 making it the shortest track on the album. "Motherland" starts very fast paced once again with the drums following a similar double bass pattern, the song has a dark undertone to it, running through the whole song. Around the 3:10 mark the riffs change and give off a heroic sound again but much different to the rest of the album. You can hear the keyboards running all the way through this track creating a slightly brooding atmosphere. The closing section of the song creates a heroic sound using tremolo riffs all in harmony with each other, creating a good end to a good album.

Overall this track gets 9/10 because it is definitely one of the better tracks off the album.

Overall i gave this album 92% because all though it is quite a remarkable album and it does encompass a lot of the last 4 album's sound it does have a tendency to get tedious. I feel that if Rob Darken had released "Fire Chariot Of Destruction" as an EP with 5-6 tracks on and focused more of the ideas into the tracks rather than spacing them out longer than needed it would've got my full 100%.