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Pagan Excellence - 95%

Basilisk, February 26th, 2007

Skyforger’s first full-length album, first recorded in 1998 and then re-released in 2006 is a masterpiece of Pagan, Folk, Black metal. Their proud heritage is nobly recounted through this album of great quality.

It kicks off with the old Lativan warrior’s song, ‘Zviegtin Zviedza Kara Zirgi’ (Neighed The Battlehorses). It is played very well with the men singing in unison to the steady beat of the drum and the acoustic folk instruments. The sound of neighing horses can be heard in the background. I really enjoy stuff like this and I thought it was a great opening for the album.

Next is the title track. It comes off heavy and with a good fierce beat. It sets the standard for the next few tracks to come which are of the same caliber; brutal black metal reminiscent of Carpathian Forest but heavier and with some folk instruments appearing now and then to make it that much better.

The fifth track begins with some splashing water sounds that sound so genuine it’s as if you’re experiencing them first hand. That’s before a short chant that is followed by the rest of the song which is more brutal black metal.

The song after that, ‘Kalejs Kala Debesis’ begins with what sounds like pipes and that ‘boinging’ instrument that you hear a lot in the music of Korpiklaani. The rest of the song is more excellent black metal.

The third last song is entirely folk. It’s a nice refreshing little interval sung around a crackling fire with the sounds of nocturnal animals like owls in the background. The only instruments in this song are vocals, drums, and a whistle.

The second to last song is another one based on a battle of yore; the battle at Garoza Forest. This is one of my favourite songs. The guitar melodies are fantastic and fit the atmosphere well. It makes use of whistle and pounding drums and the song also at times, mixes in acoustics.

It is with the consistent strength that this band has shown throughout the album that it comes to a close. This album is truly great. I strongly recommend it.