Release: 17 March 2023
Label: Via Nocturna
Diaboł Boruta– typically a five-piece metal band from Poland named for the Devil Boruta, a character from Polish mythology known for corrupting noblemen– have forgotten their metal gear on the way to the recording studio, and, instead, met up with some friends and recorded an acoustic album, and it is an absolute delight. Borutus Akustikus is entirely in Polish, so this review is relying heavily on Google Translate and the band’s Facebook and Bandcamp pages.
This album was a fun challenge to research. As far as I can tell, there are two original tracks on this album: Czarownica (“Witch”) and W moim ogródecku (“In My Garden”), the latter being a traditional Polish folk song. Pielgrzym (“Pilgrim”) also appeared on Żywioły (“The Elements”, 2022) and the rest on Widziadła (“She Saw”, 2016), Stare Ględźby (“Old Ględźby”, 2015), and Leśny Duch (“Forest Spirit”, 2014). Thematically, we’re traveling and appreciating the wilderness with snakes, witches, water nymphs, and other new age elements calling back to Polish folklore. I had to scour the Internet to find lyrics for the original versions of these songs and translate them, but they’re damn good, and it’s worth the effort.
The artwork is great, too. Scroll up and give it a closer look. It’s their best-looking album cover to date. Along with that, it’s their best sounding album. Whether intentionally to harken a woodland sound or just by virtue of their recording technology, earlier albums sounded rougher, especially the vocals. Here on Borutus Akustikus, the lyrics are crisp, the instruments well-equalized, and it just sounds really warm to the ear. The whole album bursts with emotion.
Getting into the tracks, Wietrznik (“Breeze”) is a solid opener for the album. It’s got a warm start and evocative lyrics. The accordion leads the track and shows off how different this album’s voice is compared to Diaboł Boruta’s other works where the accordion is more of a background character. The song changes around the 2:45 mark and shows off the original metal flavor acoustically using the vocals alone. It’s very clever.
Żeńcy i Południca (“Żeńcy and Poludnica”) is the second track of this album, but, interestingly enough, this is the third time that this song has appeared on a Diaboł Boruta album. It’s a great song about a demon haunting a wheat field that shows off both the album’s vocalists. Like Wietrznik, there’s a twist about three-quarters through where the haunting, evocative vocals give way to a frantic accordion piece. Unfortunately, the version on the album Leśny Duch is my favorite, but it’s great to hear this acoustic version. Likewise, Srebrne żmije on Stare Ględźby is a high-powered metal song that doesn’t fare as well when performed acoustically.
However, Byłem ongi dębem “I Was Once an Oak” is the opposite. It’s mainly a spoken-word piece that also appeared on Stare Ględźby. This version, however, is my favorite. The female vocalist provides a great background for the narration, which sounds haughty, poetic and important. It’s closer to its oaken roots when performed like it is here. This is largely what I took away from the album: a closeness to nature and the magic spirits roaming therein.
The album closes on W moim ogródecku (“In My Garden”), which is appropriate for any number of reasons: it is thematic proximate to the rest of the album, it is a recognizably and proudly Polish song, and it’s a song that belongs in the acoustic realm. It stands out when listening to the album. Many renditions exist, but I’m very happy that this one was made and is here to close us out.
I’ve gone on long because I enjoyed spending time with this album and its siblings. It’s moody, somber, angry, devilish, and to speak technically, very, very good.
- Wietrznik 04:31
- Żeńcy i Południca 05:07
- Pielgrzym 04:30
- Byłem ongi dębem 04:31
- Czarownica 03:44
- Rusałka 04:05
- Srebrne żmije 04:05
- Sobótki 06:08
- W moim ogródecku 02:27