Release: 21 February 2016
Quickly, try to name your favorite folk metal band from Lithuania…… sadly, I don’t have one either. Well now I do with Juodvarnis…… and when I say folk metal, it is really more like pagan/dark metal. I will stop splitting hairs and get on with the review.
This is their 2nd full length album (debut album “Šauksmai Iš Praeities” (“Cries From The Past”) was released in 2014) and this new album picks up right where they left off with some added texture and more of a detailed definitive sound. “Mirusio Žmogaus Kelionė” (“The Deceased Man’s Journey” is my translation) takes the foundation of “Šauksmai…..” and builds upon it with an overall darker and heavier vibe to it. From a comparison point of view, I was immediately reminded of Primordial with a blend of some Negura Bunget, Thy Worshiper, Mayhem and a touch of Paganland, especially from a vocal perspective.
While the new album is only 6 tracks, each one averages over 7 minutes in length and that is the trademark of their sound… lengthy, dirgey and emotion filled tracks. Where ““Šauksmai…..” had numerous individual stories to tell, “Mirusio Žmogaus Kelionė” feels more concept oriented to me, even though I am basing this solely on the album title and the way the tracks blend together with the track listing. This has a very heavy progressive direction to it but certainly not in the stuffy way, but more in the trying to evoke numerous feelings from each individual track with tempo changes and various riff and vocal directions.
While many bands tend to get too busy by packing riff after needless riff into their songs, Juodvarnis puts them together one after the other in a format that just works……very avant-garde and almost jazz like…..don’t worry it will still put a hole in you skull with heaviness. I found this to be challenging and thought provoking to listen to in its dissonant way. This 4 piece still keep it metal but very experimental but in a controlled fashion, staying within some boundaries but filling it to the edges. The guitars play off of each other while the bass and drums create some constantly changing backdrops for the vocals to intertwine in and out of. Take “Mes Visi Pasmerkti” (“We Are All Doomed”) as an example…..constantly changing from blast beats to simple guitar and evocative vocals, I can’t say there really is any folk here but the pagan tone is definitely here and overflowing from this release.
If there were some traditional instrumentation here it would probably be completely killer but there isn’t any so what we have is still a really solid metal offering from them. A better overall production with lusher guitar and vocal tone also helps propel this forward. Folk metal? Probably not. A decent release? Absolutely. A great 2nd album from Juodvarnis……
- Amžinybė nelaukia tavęs
- Mes visi pasmerkti
- Kas aš?