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Not enough riffs. - 64%

KayTeeBee, October 24th, 2004

This is an epic work. I can't really describe what style it is. It has elements of folk metal, heavy, melodic, etc. Anyways, this album is pretty good. The melodies feel a bit too random at times (like in the introduction), but it makes for a very ambient music. The flute is amazingly well played, it gives a lot of feeling to the songs.

The only problem here is the lack of heavy riffs, or guitars period. Most of the songs featured on this album have long and repetitive introductions. So the songs take long to start, and then when the riffs start, they're slow and boring. So then after about two minutes of average riffage, we get another one or two minutes long interlude. Fucking hell. That just makes the album boring, and feels VERY
repetitive. But there is one song on this that completely owns, and that's "Planeshift". This song is completely fucking up-beat, and delivers energy that isn't to be found nowhere else in this album. Harsh vocals, speedy drums, incredible riff, you know the drill. It's that song that gets you headbanging from start to finish. Too bad the other songs are flawed like hell.

This album has potential, but it misses one thing: riffs! Too many interludes, and the songs take too long to kick in. You may find this interesting if you like acoustic stuff too much though. A pass for all headbangers.

Oh...my...god...album of the year - 94%

Egregius, May 25th, 2003

This album came as a god-sent gift in a time where I got tired of metal in general, and wondered if anyone could still be original. But when I listened to this album in the store I was almost moved to tears by the music.

Rakoth is the kind of band that has such an unique sound that it's hard to classify them, and hard to describe them as a result.

From the intro on it starts almost perfectly: soothing but somehow a bit sad flute-tones guide make the listener at ease, and prepares him/her for the power of the next song (a personal favorite). Fear (Wasn't in the Design) is one of those songs that brilliantly demonstrate that it's possible to syncretize flute-tones, with clean vocals mixed in with harsh (bm-)vocals, with varied drum-patterns, searing guitars and subtle keyboards.
Then the next track, a synth+flute-interlude, brings the listener at ease once more with it's melancholic tones.

Before I go into cliche-overdrive though, I'd recommend you head over to their site on mp3.com, or their labelsite, for some mp3s to check Rakoth out for yourself.
Check out a song, and note the interplay of P.Noir's very appeasing (folky but avoiding the cliche-folk-vocals) clean vocals and Rustams harsh vocals.
Using 2 vocalists at once is rare in metal, and to have it done and add so much to the music is perhaps even rarer.

The problem with praising a band you like is that people will check them out and then be dissapointed, as it might not live up to expectation. I discovered this band because Aardschok metalmagazine gave it 100/100, and I've been a fan since. So please have an open and skeptic mind when listening to these songs, and if you don't like what you hear, listen another time on a later date. Apreciating this album wasn't hard for me because it sounded so different from what I expected, and even though in this day and age of folkbands galore, Rakoth remains pretty unique.

The album-theme is based on the books of a Russian novelist whose name escapes me at the moment; he wrote several unofficial sequels to the Lord of the Rings. Fans of LotR might recognize some names in the titles.

Anyway, the rest of the songs.
Track 4 is a medium-paced song with an slight undertone of upbeatness.

Og'Elend is a song about drow and tells a story of some sorts; it has a bit of a sinister undertone, as towards the end the overal atmosphere becomes that of betrayal and angry failure.

Planeshift is a bit of a radical change in song-style without disrupting the flow of the album. It's on here that more black metal type elements come to the fore, and the clean vocals take a step back to have it's place taken by the harsher vox. Basically an upspeed song with a somewhat eerie atmosphere. I especially like the bit where on the height of the song the flutes prick through the wall of tremolo-melodies to insert a slightly alternative tune into the whole for a moment.
The next 2 tracks return to 'normal' with a story to be told. On Mountain God a bit of a dark brooding atmosphere takes over.
Lastly, before the soothing outro, a sort of tormented ballad about a lost love.

Heck, just try some songs out, plenty of mp3s to find. Otherwise buy the album blind, if you like folk, a bit of the more symphonic bands and have no problem with harsh vox (I'm not talking Mayhem-style or even CoF-style here anyway) then this is your album.

The fact that this album only gets a 94 reflects the fact that I don't give out 100's just like that. But this album is *that* good (just not perfect, no album is).