Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

This iron is hot - 74%

Felix 1666, May 30th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Folter Records

Latvia looks back on an eventful history. It became independent after the Great War, but World War II ended tragically for the Latvian nation. The Soviet Union took possession of the country while deporting Latvian people en masse to Central Asia. After 45 years of foreign occupation, the country became again a sovereign State. Maybe due to these disturbing events, Skyforger integrates folkloric patterns in their music. The results are very different.

First of all, the guys sing in their native tongue. Of course, I do not understand a single word. But I like the authentic approach. It goes without saying that you cannot express the feelings and myths of a nation while using a foreign language. Apart from that, the strange sound of the language lends the music a mysterious aura. The vocal performance itself reaches a solid level. But Skyforger shines particularly with some fascinating riffs which build the backbone of a couple of stirring tracks. Perhaps you like to lend an ear to the opening riff of “Kad Ūsiņš jāj”. It is mighty and powerful so that it contrasts in an exciting manner with the gentle native tones of this mid-tempo number. The title track also benefits from a strong riff at the beginning. But the melancholic yet heavyweight “Migla, migla, rasa, rasa“, equipped with a polyphonic singing, gets the price for the best guitar work. Skyforger fascinates with an outstanding arrangement. The stoic riffing blends seamlessly with the acoustic guitar and the playful flute. A dark and foggy forest appears before the inner eye and its damp atmosphere makes you shiver.

Skyforger is not afraid of integrating a relatively huge number of sentimental breaks. Many of them are cleverly embedded and put the emphasis on the folkloric and less brusque side of the band. Unfortunately, the Latvian bards have also written some more or less unconvincing tracks. For example, they offer a very lame instrumental. Its fairly solid melody cannot conceal that this track does not add any value to the album. However, I have to stay fair. Pagan metal does not belong to my favourite genres. Bearded men that sing in choirs are usually not my cup of tea. And I have to admit that I do not appreciate an overdose of atypical instruments. But Skyforger accomplish their tasks successfully. They meet the criteria of the genre with great ease. All pagan metal fans can add five or ten percentage points - or maybe even more. Furthermore, they can rest assured that this band also appeals to black or thrash metal maniacs. Nonetheless, the songs I appreciate most are the aggressive outbursts.

The harshest song of the album is marked by “Nakts debesu karakungs”. It builds a bridge to their rabid second full-length. High speed drumming, combative riffs and varied vocals go hand in hand with the necessary quantum of melody. However, this euphoric yet merciless thrasher remains an exception and cannot be considered as representative for the album. But do not get me wrong. The majority of the more typical tunes also gives boredom no chance. Therefore, dive into the original compositions of this album. No doubt, its different melodies release emotions like happiness, desperation or self-confidence. I guess the same applies for the Latvian history.