Release: 18 November 2019
Just when I think that Mityay from Zmey Gorynich has the title of busiest guy in folk metal (ZG, Grailight, Skylord, etc.) the extended family members of Goblin Hovel have yet another branch in their ever-growing project tree. Featuring members of GH, Wandering Oak and Wicker Fool, this new project is called Shrine Of Burls and they have recently issued their debut simply titled “I”. There are 5 tracks coming in at 38 minutes so a 7-8-minute average per track. So given the list of connected projects, I think you will have an idea even before listening of what to expect….progressive/acoustic/dark/quirkiness? Spot on…..if you happen to like Nechochwen, Appalachian Winter, Forever Autumn or Panopticon’s “Kentucky” album and aren’t familiar with the associations listed above, then at least you will have a starting point. It is acoustic, it is dark and it is quirky/progressive. I think it may have a more folk/bluegrass/traditional overall feel….maybe it is the banjo and mandolin that makes me think that. I guess neo-folk will have to work for a description but probably not as linear as most neo-folk tends to be. As far as the tracks go, the riffing is more technical than most and I think could translate well into metal versions if need be (I would definitely be down to hear them). It appears that possibly the most attention was given to vocals and rhythmic patterns….intertwining vocal styles and backing ones give this a lot of mood. The percussive elements are very distinct and really drive the riffs and vocals. Guitarist/vocalist FL, percussionist/backing vocalist Thornrune Svartalf, multi-instrumentalist Haus and bassist/percussionist D’Ethereal have made a new project that has done something hard to do….make music that sounds like all of their projects and none of them at the same time. By the way, the use of pseudonyms adds to the mystery of the musician collective and keeps you guessing to a point (although with some research you could take some guesses) The album starts with the murky “Swamp Hag” and never churns out a bad note. While I really enjoy the whole release, I would go to the album closer as the real gem here…..12 minutes of “Long Is The Darkened Road” really has all of the good stuff in one track…..lots of choral vocals and various vocal styles, off kilter timing, simple yet intense layering of instrumentation and an ebb and flow to the track to really transport you along the way. You will get to here 4 killer tracks before this so a nice journey to the end. I really love the live feel of this….it would shock me if this was recorded as individual tracks as it really has a jam session feel to it the with mics set up, they hit record and let it rip. It does have more spatiality than a live recording would have and a nice natural sound. Congrats on another epic album in the clan and another member of my top debuts of 2019.
- Swamp Hag 09:18
- Harvest Dances (I – III) 06:17
- The Changeling 07:06
- On River’s Edge 03:23
- Long Is The Darkened Road 12:20