Mena Brinno - _Wicked Polly_
(Dark Balance, 2009)
by: Quentin Kalis (6.5 out of 10)
Hailing form the good ol' US of A, Mena Brinno are seemingly a trans-Atlantic variation of the European female-fronted dark heavy metal sound, distinguishing themselves from this overpopulated swamp by drawing upon the American folk tradition. It's unclear as what this really means; the USA has an undisputed rich musical history from blues through to death metal, but it is not clear what would constitute folk music in this context. "Wildwood Flower" is the only overtly folk track, and one of the highlights with its Southern rock feel and banjo strumming. Folk melodies and a whistle (which sounds synth generated) surface on other tracks such as "Secrets of War", but are not much different from what the wannabe Vikings on the other side are doing. It could be that the folk touch is largely limited to the lyrical inspiration.

Moving on, the sound is expectedly European, well arranged and performed, from the guitar leads through to the Decker's trained voice. There is a love of widdly soloing that is reminiscent of power metal, and the production is pretty decent -- as is the album as a whole. The arrangements are good, the guitarist and vocalist especially are highly skilled, but I'm just not convinced that this is significantly different from their European cousins. It's an above average entrant that outshines many others on bigger labels, but its uniqueness is overstated.


(article published 5/5/2009)

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