Skyforger - _Kurbads_
(Metal Blade, 2010)
by: Chaim Drishner (7 out of 10)
The Skyforger lads are going back in time, becoming younger and younger still with the passing of time, offering an album which is full of youth angst and adrenaline, power and vehemence. Shedding virtually all folk elements other than the most minute innuendos, the band's focus has shifted from folk-ish pagan black metal to a more thrashing, in-your-face metal etiquette, without losing, in the process, the band's charm and unique sound.

The presiding guitar sound is all over the place, pushing the music forward with its distorted fervor, rendering the riff-fest energetic and festive. The vocal delivery is excellent and unique; it alternates between the semi-gritty, to almost death metal oriented growling, to the more folk-oriented baritone chanting and beyond; sometimes the vocals bear a clear flair and sometimes a dual-vocal technique is used; all vocal approaches were done both with class and skill, the lyrics being sung exclusively in the band's native Latvian language, which ultimately renders the music folk-oriented without the need of additional instruments. The flute is there alright; it emerges in measured quantities and complements the excellent, if simple, heavy metal sound and delivery of the body of music.

_Kurbads_ therefore is a finely balanced album, and the simple, casual way it is delivered, coupled with its immediate impact, attest to the skill and experience of a band whose talent is natural, embedded deeply in their collective life's blood, and whose veins are filled with metallic blood -- be it black metal oriented, or, in this case, thrash metal to the bone; hence _Kurbads_ is a good thrash / heavy metal metal album with its own unique twist, and one of the best in this department. For fans of the heavier and harsher moments of Cruachan and such, where the guitar is the dominating force and the backbone of the music.


(article published 25/2/2011)

5/31/2004 J Montague 9 Skyforger - Thunderforge (Perkonkalve)
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