Archive for Acoustic

Eluveitie – Evocation II: Pantheon

Posted in CD, Folk with tags , , on 12th August 2017 by izaforestspirit

Eluveitie

Evocation II: Pantheon

Released 18th August 2017

Folk/Acoustic

Released via Nuclear Blast

Eluveitie - Evocation II: Pantheon

Swiss folk metallers Eluveitie are back with a new female singer and a new album. Now for those who have been following the band for some time, the name ‘Evocation’ will be familiar because the band has already released one album under that moniker back in 2009. What we have here is part two of that concept – ‘Evocation II: Pantheon’, which offers more acoustic folk tunes. So, for those who enjoyed the first ‘Evocation’ album, you’re in for a treat. If, like me, you prefer the more metal-oriented works such as ‘Slania’ then you might have a hard time adjusting to the lack of metal elements on here.

That’s not the only thing that makes this album stand out. Another feature I’ve noticed is the distinct lack of male vocals on here. As much I appreciate Fabienne Erni’s melodious vocal talents, I actually miss the dual vocal configuration with their frontman Chrigel Glanzmann’s harsh semi-growls providing a sharp contrast. Then again, that would make it more metal-sounding, which is clearly is not the aim here. No, this is definitely a folk album with tin whistles, acoustic guitars, bagpipes,harps etc. being the order of the day.

Epona caught my attention, as one of the catchiest songs on here. So catchy in fact that it makes you want to get up, dance and possibly even sing along. I honestly have no idea what the lyrics mean but that chorus has been stuck in my head for several days now! There’s quite a few purely instrumental tracks on here too, all bearing that distinctive Celtic feel to them due to the tin whistles and harps. Lvgvs sounds like Eluveitie’s rendition of the Breton drinking song ‘Son ar chistr’. And what a great job they did on it. Yet there’s more to ‘Evocation II’ than just drinking songs and catchy folk tunes; there are a few more sombre songs on here as well such as the Cernvnnos, and the beautiful Artio which really shows off Erni’s vocal talents. Then there is Cavtrix which includes some rather creepy-sounding war chants and drumming as if to mimic the eve of a battle. Last but not least I want mention Ogmios, which sounds like a new, re-lyricized acoustic version of one of the tracks from their earlier albums.

In summary, the clue is in the name – ‘Evocation II: Pantheon’ is a logical continuation of where the first ‘Evocation’ album left off. It’s all folk music with not even the slightest hint of metal. So if you enjoyed the first ‘Evocation’ album then you’re bound to like this. Personally I liked some of songs but after listening through to all eighteen tracks of acoustic folk, I really missed the sounds of an electric guitar and harsh growling. Good work Eluveitie! How about a metal album next time?

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

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Ricky Warwick – When Patsy Cline Was Crazy…

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 26th February 2016 by Pieni

Ricky Warwick
“When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)” / “Hearts On Trees”
Hard Rock
Released: 26th February 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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I’ve been listening to this album on a daily basis for the past two weeks, trying to come up with the right words to describe it, but always ended up losing myself in the melodies and Warwick’s voice. As the album is out today, I decided I couldn’t postpone this review any longer and it was better to write it by heart – by now I definitely can do that – as pressing “play” would distract me again.

That’s what you must be prepared for when listening to this double album – to have your senses enthralled and be taken away to that place in your mind where everything will be fine. Even if you’re listening to “Psycho”, a song depicting a troubled mind reaching out to his mom.

The first CD “When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)” comprises the electric songs, while “Hearts On Trees” offers the acoustic ones. Which doesn’t mean that the latter is less fiery than the former. Born in Northern Island, Warwick brought the high spirited Irish music in the form of the title track and “Schwaben Redoubt” (although the story here ends with death). “Disasters” is pretty upbeat too.

Living up to its title, “Presbyterian Homesick Blues” is a blues song, but not exactly sad – it’s one of those that touches your feelings. And “Way Too Cold To Snow”, despite the somewhat melancholy, is just too beautiful to stir anything but life inside of you.

In “When Patsy Cline…” you’ll find that pure, classic rock that Warwick’s gotten us used to for years. The heavy opener “The Road To Damascus Street”, the catchy “Celebrating Sinking”, the sharp “Toffee Town”, the horn section in “That’s Where The Story Ends”… Twenty songs (plus eight bonuses!) to love.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Talanas – Asylum [EP]

Posted in CD, Experimental, Metal, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 23rd May 2014 by Paul Macmillan

Talanas
Asylum
Released in February 2014
Acoustic atmospheric death metal
Released via Eulogy Media

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Having been bought over by the first three releases from London based Talanas, I was honestly unsure of what to expect when confronted with the prospect of their unplugged effort, Asylum. Let’s face it, some past efforts by other artists to take a heavy band into the sphere of un-amped song writing have produced pretentious and pedestrian results. However, in this case, I am pleased to say it doesn’t disappoint.

While they have done away with a significant proportion of the technical riffery of their previous releases (Joe Butterworth’s massive drum kit still gets put to good use!), it has been more than adequately replaced with a haunting layering of intelligent rhythmic structures. As a musician with a minor obsession with tricking the ear, I get a deeper level of enjoyment out of noting the way in which my head subconsciously nods in unison, regardless of the strange blend of timings and bar counts. It stands out as a mark of excellence when music in this vein subtly distracts from the fact that a lot of this isn’t in 4/4, the standard time signature for…well…pretty much everything.

Where in general, metal leans heavily on the voice of distorted guitar to convey concepts of malevolence, this stripped down creature stalks the rooms of the mind as something altogether darker. The ephemeral melange of enigmatic sonics displays no ham-fisted gothicisms, neatly side-stepping the comedy trap which snares many others treading similar shadowy realms. Success in this department is possibly due in part to front man Hal Sinden’s inherited understanding of creative expression through his theatrical lineage. It certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt.

It may not be a universal viewpoint, but I have always believed that interpretation should be open to the listener. Although the lyrical content herein is hinged around ‘Britain’s rich history of supernatural and occult-based tales of murderous hauntings, possession, witchcraft & insanity’, I feel swamped in an otherworldly sensation: I swear it’s almost affecting my vision, transforming familiar surroundings into an eerie, threatening and alien world. I feel transported.

Another enduring quality of these five-tracks is that they balance the musical holy trinity of character, emotion and technical ability, without overplaying any of the three. It’s a humble approach which does the finished recording no end of favours. In aiming, above everything else, to create ‘specific atmospheres regardless of the genre’, Talanas appear to have ticked all the boxes on the mission check-list.

It seeps through to every decision too, with guest artists selected for their ability to contribute to the grander scheme, rather than as a mere exercise in name-dropping. Fellow Eulogy Media artist Beth Ryan provides some ice cold vocal melodies on the soulfully ethereal The Apostle, while the hammered dulcimer (yes, I did have to look that up if you must know) brings a sinister Prussian carnival air to My Lady White at the hands of Tim Manning.

Has this been a tricky review to write? Yes. There is no real comparison to other bands to be made, which is possibly the best way to describe new music to the reader. If you like the unique, the creative and the intricate, performed with integrity, I whole-heartedly recommend this. It’s certainly a release which will stick with me for a long time.

4.5 / 5

Paul Macmillan

Ben Parcell’s “Cover Stories Vol. 1” available for free download

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 13th April 2014 by Pieni

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Ben Parcell, one of Bridlington’s most famous pop-folk performers, has released his third full-length album, which is available for free download at Bandcamp (link here). More than a cover album, “Cover Stories Vol. 1” is a homage to artists who have influenced, supported and given advice to Parcell. Quoting the man himself: » I think it’s important to recognise local and roots music as we live in an age where the mainstream is mostly interested in chart music and the X Factor. While I wish all the best for artists who choose to take the talent show route, there are many local artists with amazing talents and superior songwriting skills, who don’t get that mainstream broadcast, but deserve it equally. I’ve been lucky enough to be granted permission by all of the artists on my album.« Like East-Yorkshire-based Edwina Hayes, who says: » A tireless supporter of local music, Ben has been an active participant in the East Yorkshire acoustic scene for several years now and I’m very honoured he has chosen to cover one of my songs.«

Along with Edwina‘s, “Cover Stories Vol. 1” features songs from Chris Helme (of the Seahorses), Ryan Spendlove, Sam McKie, Rob Bywater, Alastair Artingstall, Sophie Madeleine, Joe McCorriston and Mikee J. Reds.

Parcell will be performing the cover album live on The Fox’s Den Radio Show, Vixen 101 FM on Friday 25th April from 9 pm. And if you’d like to attend one of his shows, he’s the monthly resident artist at The Funny Onion, Bridlington, on the first Friday of every month. For more info, follow his official Facebook page here.

Tersivel – For One Pagan Brotherhood [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th July 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Tersivel
Album: For One Pagan Brotherhood
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk Metal/Pagan Metal

South America is well known for its vast metal scene and community which grows day by day with new bands appearing on the scene. Argentinian pagan metallers “Tersivel” have been a dominating force within this scene since forming in 2006. “For One Pagan Brotherhood” is the third studio release by Tersivel and their first full length album.

The album begins with the synth-guitar intro of “As Brothers We Shall Fight”. An aggressive guitar-double bass pedal combined riff follows after, creating a machine gun sound effect, which is well suited to the song due to the title. The vocals switch between brutal grunts and powerful clean vocals, both of which give the track more punch. The last half of the song seems to be calmer compared to the violent sounding first half, however, this does not take anything away from the music. The synth and keyboard sections certainly bring some very interesting parts as well. “As Brothers We Shall Fight” is a very sagaic song and brilliant choice to begin the album with.

”The Heathen Sun Of Revenge” begins with a true folk sounding intro in the form of clean vocals, folk instrumentation and acoustic guitars. The track eventually turns heavy but still keeps that good ol’ folk feel about it, which contrasts strangely well with the aggression of the guitars and drums. The clean vocals add a very solemn and sorrowful sound to the track. It ends with an epic synth section.

Straight after is “Far Away in the Distant Skies” with a very synth-heavy intro, though this doesn’t ruin the composition or sound of the song, as the synth leads into a violent guitar riff. The harsh vocals, in true folk metal style, are raw and aggressive while the cleaner vocals are strong but still have that raw edge to them. The drum work is intelligent yet barbaric, bring a new dynamic of brutality to the album. The piano medley in the second half of the song is a very calming section and emotionally touching at times. The guitar solo that soon follows is masterfully played.

”High Germany – Erin’s Jig” is another song that has a folk sound at the beginning. Though the dominating force of guitars, drums and synth soon replace the majestic folk-like intro. The folk and metal sections bounce off each other exceedingly well. The flute medleys complement the clean vocals, making the listener feel as if they’re back in pre-Christian Europe. Without a doubt, this is one of the more impressive tracks of the album – Which is saying a lot considering most, if not all, of the songs are impressive. “And Fires Also Died Away” begins with a darker sound compared to the grand, sagaic and folk sounding introductions of the other songs. The tempo eventually increases but the song stays solemn and dark.

”Those Days Are Gone” carries on the heartbroken feel of the previous song. This one is mostly acoustic guitar orientated with some subtle orchestration that blends well with the clean vocals.  Beginning the second half of the album is the accordion-dominated “Tarantella Siciliana” [Which is also the name of a folk dance in Sicily]. The song contains that “get up and party until you pass out” feel that conjures up images of happy villagers dancing around in celebration.

Beginning with a synth-guitar-drum intro, “We Are The Fading Sun” blasts its way next. A dark, heavy piano medley follows the intro and is soon replaced by a vicious, face-melting guitar riff. Vocally, the track is dominated by harsh vocals to begin with, though the clean vocals do get some pretty epic sections as well. The chorus, itself, is very catchy. There is a calm section roughly half way through which suddenly turns heavy dramatic within the blink of an eye. The use of keyboards and guitars towards the end is brilliant. “We Are The Fading The Sun” leaves the listener wanting more.

Fortunately enough, the listener gets more in the form of “Aeolian Islands”. Like some of the previous pieces on the album, “Aeolian Islands” is composed of acoustic guitar, along with some use of flutes. It certainly has a very folk feel to it. “Cosa Nostra” starts with a keyboard-heavy riff, which carries on through most of the track. The vocals, to begin with, sound out of key and do sort of ruin the music, however in the chorus, they do improve massively.

The second to last track is “Pagan Nation”, beginning with the sound of swords followed by an aggressive guitar section. The keyboard sections are grand, majestic and awesome. The drums and guitars are aggressive and brutal, as they should be. The vocals are immense, contrasting well with the music. Overall, the track is very sagaic. The final song is “Cruzat Beer House” [named after a pub in Buenos Aires, Argentina]. The intro is a slow, melodic piano medley which is soon accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The song soon begins to feel like a good ol’ fashioned drinking anthem with the introduction of the accordions. Even the vocals echo the sound of a good time to be had with beer. The fast and slow tempos of the song certainly add to it’s folky jig-like feel. This will certainly become a drinking song for folk metallers around the world.

”For One Pagan Brotherhood” seems different compared to other folk metal releases – Be it the lack of Viking/Celt-based lyrics or the use of accordions with a brilliant combination of clean and harsh vocals. Of course, it’s different in the good sense. This is certainly a monumental album and will no doubt be considered one of the greatest albums of folk metal in years to come.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson