Label: Svarga Music
Although being in existence for almost 20 years, Ukraine’s Paganland have just announced the release of their 2nd full length with the epic “Fatherland”. Their 1st full length release “Wind Of Freedom” was released in 2013 and was on my heavy rotation of Pagan Metal releases from that time for sure. It would be easy to want to compare them to other incredible acts from Ukraine (Drudkh, Nokturnal Mortum, Kroda, Ygg, Zgard….), but I believe Paganland lean more towards folk/pagan then Black Metal at least on their first album. While having an atmospheric style about them, the songs are very anthemic in style (especially on this new record) with reasoning behind it….the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
“Fatherland” is a call to arms for Ukraine and even if you are not from there or have any connections, it is readily apparent what the purpose of this release is supposed to accomplish. Opening track “The Dawn Of A New Era” sets the tone at just over 7 minutes with a heavy keyboard leaning (Keyboardist Ruen is the founding member still here so understandably so) and Sergfill’s crunchy guitar attack. The raw emotions of everything that is happening in that part of the world comes thru on every track here…..”The Voice Of The Carpathians” continues to echo the plight with plenty of double bass drumming by Tur to keep you interested even if the message they are trying to convey may not be clear….the songs are more epic in nature/longer than the first release which I believe has shown a major progression in their sound. Vocalist Volodymyr invokes the lyrics with an honesty often lost in music such as this, which can either make for a successful release or make it a complete failure. The mix on the vocals here brings it probably too much to the forefront, but it lends a more emotional feel to this release and I am glad that this possible oversight happened. His vocal melodies in tracks like “Stellar Path” and “The Eternal Fire Of Fame” are full of strength and passion.
Album closer “Fatherland” is probably my favourite track here, despite having a little more of a stripped down sound than the rest of tracks here really has a multitude of musical ideas going on here. Politics aside, Paganland have created a fitting tribute to their native land and have done so by persevering thru difficult times to say the least to get here.
While production could be better, the rawness and unpolished sound gives this album a more desperate feel and I think enhances the message behind it. If you liked their first album, then this no doubt will be one you will need to pick up as well. Great release.
- Svitanok Novoí̈ Dobi (The Dawn Of A New Era)
- Holos Karpat (The Voice Of The Carpathians)
- Kriź Cholod Zimi (Through The Winter Coldness)
- Zorianij Šliach (Stellar Path)
- Slovo Ridnie, Orlie Skutij (Native Word! Shackled Eagle!)
- Niezhaslie Polumja Slavi (The Eternal Fire of Fame)
- Vitčizna (Fatherland)