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Black Messiah: The Final Journey
I wouldn't like to cause any dramas within the band with my humble review but The Final Journey shows rather clearly that what we have here is one great folk metal band (or pagan metal band if you prefer that moniker) and one terrible, terrible vocalist. Then again, to make things right Black Messiah wouldn't actually have to kick the said vocalist, Zagan, out of the band as he has more than enough other duties, like playing the guitar, bass, violin and mandolin – and he does all of that pretty well. But please, just pass the mike to somebody who can sing rather than just tear the songs to pieces for a change
Of course, I do realize that bands like Black Messiah are proud to be somehow wild and uncivilized but Zagan's ungodly, animalistic screams are way too much to handle, trust me. And it's all the more painful if the music is as good and imaginative as what is on display here. With epic and atmospheric tracks like "Der Ring mit dem Kreuz", "To Become a Man" and the 4-part "The Naglfar Saga", this album could easily become one of my favourite folk metal releases of all time, but as soon as one hears the vocalist bully his way into the opening song "Windloni" (another winner, instrumentally-wise), the savage charm of this whole effort weakens considerably. In effect, the most listener-friendly tracks on The Final Journey are: the short instrumental "Into the Unfathomed Tower (A Tribute to Candlemass)" and only slightly longer "The Naglfar Saga: Prologue – The Final Journey" in which the abominable vocals are replaced by a very well done cinematic narration that introduces the listener to the Viking saga Black Messiah are about to tell. As soon as this prologue finishes, though, the vocal hell opens up again and swallows us all alive to then torture us mercilessly throughout the album's final 20 minutes.
Joking aside, though, there are many things to like on The Final Journey: the tight musicianship, the effective use of non-metal instruments and the complex compositions. Just re-record all of it with a real vocalist and you're gonna have a killer album.
Hear me, Black Messiah?
Zagan: vocals, guitar, bass, violin, mandolin
Mike Brööh Bröker : drums
2. Der Ring mit dem Kreuz
3. To Become a Man
4. Into the Unfathomed Tower (A Tribute to Candlemass)
5. Feld der Ehre
7. The Naglfar Saga : Prologue – the Final Journey
8. The Naglfar Saga : Mother Hel
9. The Naglfar Saga : On Board
10. The Naglfar Saga : Sailing into Eternity
Added: April 22nd 2012
Reviewer: Bartek Paszylk
Related Link: Band Website
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