Kroda / Oprith - _Legend / Wolfen Loyalty_
(Stellar Winter, 2005)
by: Quentin Kalis (9 out of 10 and 6 out of 10 respectively)
This is an interesting release by relative newcomers Kroda, who had only a full-length to their name prior to the recording of this EP -- but who are veterans by comparison to Oprich, for whom _Wolfish Loyalty_ marks their first and only recorded work to date.

Kroda's half consists of four tracks: two epic tracks bookended by two surprisingly effective ambient textures. The lyrics consist solely of the poem "Poppyfields Are Blossoming" by Ukrainian poet Myhajlo Stelmah. A translation by Eisenslav is provided, but while it is adequate to convey the general sense of the poem, the subtle nuances are lost. The alternative is that Stelmah is vastly overrated as a poet by the Kroda duo. This is understandable however; it's hard enough to translate prose without losing the subtleties and meanings unique to that language, never mind poetry. The 'real' songs are grandiose and lengthy, with a folksy touch provided by the intermittent use of a sopilka (duct flute). The production is surprisingly clear, providing a crisp sound that is tighter than I could have reasonably expected. The songs are interlinked and are best appreciated by listening to them in order in one sitting.

Oprich have a far stronger folk influence -- and while this in itself is never a negative, Oprich's insistent use sounds chaotic and overbearing. There are some moments which I enjoy greatly, but they are unable to sustain them for the duration of a single song. Their half is permeated with a sense of having been rushed and generally feels inchoate.

Their debut album is apparently being recorded, and given that this is a nascent band with some positive moments, I will be interested in hearing their first full-length, despite the above sentiments. At the moment, only the Kroda half alone is sufficient to justify a purchase.


(article published 8/9/2006)

3/25/2009 Q Kalis 7.5 Kroda - Live in Lemburg
6/23/2007 Q Kalis 9 Kroda - Fimbulvinter
1/12/2007 Q Kalis 9 Kroda - Towards the Firmaments Verge of Life...
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