Thursday, 27 August 2009

BY THE SWORD OF MY FATHER

Band: FOLKEARTH
Title: By The Sword Of My Father
Format: CD pressing on the Stygian Crypt Productions label (Russia) from 2006, cat ref SCP 029. Alex has contributed 2 tracks to this Folkearth release, the band's second album. The case (above) has been dedicated and autographed in gold by Alex.
Edition: unlimited

Track Listing:
Contributions by Hugin identified in bold type

01. Introduction 4.23
02. The Lady's Gift
03. By The Sword Of My Father
04. Naglfar Sets Sail
05. The Death Of Beowulf
06. Instrumental
07. Skaldic Art
08. Domain Of Darksome Ravens
09. Return To Walehalle
10. Heathenpride
11. Elves
12. Invictus
13. Wisdom Of Wolves
14. Sailing A'Viking
15. Tribute To The Viking Gods
16. Journey Ends 3.22

On June 11th Nazgul included the debut Folkearth album in his blog, which was relevant for the single track contributed by Hugin to that release. Here, on the band's second release from 2006, there is double the content to enjoy on a 16-track humdinger of an album!

Indeed, Ravenclaw's vision of an ever-expanding pan-continental folk-metal band continued apace with this release: whilst the "A Nordic Poem" debut featured 14 musicians from 6 different countries, the sequel boasts an impressive 31 musicians from 8 countries and is still as cohesive and well melded album as the first, despite the potential for 'more cooks to spoil the broth'. For trivia buffs amongst you, the net growth of 2 countries between albums is a result of the inclusion of 3 new territories on this release (US, Germany and Italy) with the loss of the Swiss representative from the original line-up! Now you too can be a crushing bore at parties....

Anyway, back to the sole Austrian contributor and our main protagonist. The two tracks are very pleasant indeed, and as one might expect draw upon Hugin's mastery of the keyboards for their structure. The cunningly titled introductory track is 'Introduction', and kicks the album off with some sampled bird song - rock 'n' roll ! This gentle opening leads into an expansive and echo-y synth piece that brings to my mind's eye mountain ranges, strewn with snow and boulders, being traversed by warriors off to battle. It's all very grandiose and epic in feel, with appropriate booming drums and counter-melodies to keep the momentum going. It's a piece that you feel should be played over the credits to the opening of a film, such is it's professionalism and grandeur. The birds, by the way, return at the end to leave you in a relaxed and peaceful frame of mind....just in time for the galloping riff to the second track 'The Lady's Gift' to give you an unexpected boot up the arse!

Jumping to the end of the album now is the final track from Hugin, being 'Journeys End'. There's a great otherworldly piece of synth at the outset (which vaguely reminded Nazgul of the beginning to ELO's "Discovery" album, which probably says more about his doubtful musical tastes than it does about the song!) before the main track begins. And knock me down with a feather if it's not a little "Tawantinsuyu" in nature, with some ethnic pan-pipe effects punctuating the progressive chords of keyboards in a spiralling melody. I suppose, given the "Tawantinsuyu" release was also in 2006, this similarity of influence shouldn't be unexpected.

Overall, 2 very good instrumental pieces and also a very decent Folkearth album. This project is still going strong, although by third album "Drakkars in the Mist" in 2007 Alex was immersed in other projects and was no longer recording with them.

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