Allerseelen / Sangre Cavallum - _Barco do Vinho_
(Ahnstern, 2006)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (8 out of 10)
Allerseelen's mastermind Gerhard has been fascinated with southern Europe for quite some time now, so this conceptual split with Portugal's Sangre Cavallum is but a logical continuation of his spiritual wanderings. As is always the case with neofolk, _Barco do Vinho_ is heavy on mysticism, although this time the main subject is a tad unusual –- namely the sacred European wine drink, a.k.a. blood of the earth.

First on the split are four tracks by Allerseelen, the first one in Portuguese -– with lyrics recited by Sangre Cavallum's A. Rangel. The sound is what you might expect from the Austrian post-industrialist Gerhard: a peculiar neofolk / pop hybrid with repetitive vocal chants, simple acoustic arrangements and monotonous beats. Typically, the Allerseelen songs are not particularly catchy, but prove to be effective and even enjoyable on further listens.

Sangre Cavallum's part of this album is quite different. The band hails from the region of Callaecia, northern Portugal, and is highly influenced by local folk tradition. Therefore their sound is a lot more pastoral and somewhat richer than Allerseelen's. Sangre Cavallum's four songs are typically enchanting, richly textured neofolk, sorrowful and sometimes epic, employing lots of traditional acoustic instruments, decent vocals and evocative choirs. The nine-minute masterpiece "Rabello", for example, is one of the better neofolk tracks you're likely to come upon these days.

The strongest point of _Barco do Vinho_ is that it is by no means a mechanically put together split record, but instead a coherent concept release by two very different bands that work very well together.


(article published 9/1/2007)

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