Release: 4 November 2016
Label: Svarga Music
After a very long hiatus, Ukraine’s Paganland returned in 2015 with the momentous “Fatherland”, an album which was filled with passion and honour over the increasing struggle between Ukraine and Russia. Now just over a year later, there is the follow up to it with “From Carpathian Land” and this new album has an altogether different feel to it as there have been some major changes since the last album.
The most notable of the changes is the departure of vocalist Volodymyr and the arrival of his replacement in Zymobor. Volodymyr’s vocal delivery was a more of a baritone style which in my opinion added a desperate plea to the tracks on “Fatherland”. Zymobor has a more traditional pagan/black metal vocal delivery which give the tracks on “From Carpathian Land” a much more aggressive feel to them, a counter-attack if you will. The second most notable change is founding member Ruen’s keyboards and where they fit in to the new tracks. While the tracks on “Fatherland” had a more keyboard driven approach, the keys here are subtler yet still omnipresent. Paganland’s overall sound seems much heavier as a result and may actually be more appealing, sounds hard to believe but as much as I love “the old sound”, the changes they have made are all for the better in the grand scheme of things. There is a more cohesive and fuller sound… more straightforward pagan metal with a better mix and production. There is a total of 7 tracks…. well 5 plus an intro and an outro for a total of 37 minutes. The main tracks average about 6 minutes in length with 4 of the 5 being new/unreleased previously and 1 being a redone version (“Black Mountain” from 2013’s “Wind Of Freedom”) There is definitely more up tempo and blast beated parts on “From Carpathian Land” with guitars driving the riffs more than the keys from previous efforts for sure. Sure the title track and tracks like “The Gloom” are definitely more keys oriented tracks but guitars seem to have crept in more. The obvious thing to do would be to listen to both versions of “Black Mountain” and you can definitely hear how the original does sound dated at this point while the new version does seem in tune with the other newer tracks, longer riffs and a fuller overall delivery. I would think you would liken this more to Drudkh, Nokturnal Mortum and others of the Ukraine’s finest more than ever. I could really be torn which “version” of Paganland I prefer as both have something to offer but in the long run, I believe the changes they have made will garner more attention with a better overall production here and a more accessible and recognizable approach. Why choose? Both versions are epic!
- Stozhary [Стожари] (Intro)
- At the Heart of Carpathians [У Серці Карпат]
- Black Mountain [Чорногора]
- Belted by Spirit [Підперезаний Духом]
- The Gloom [Морок]
- From Carpathian Land [З Карпатського Краю]
- Chuhayster [Чугайстер] (Outro)